Lopez-controlled Bayan Telecommunications Inc (BayanTel) plans to invest PHP1.4 billion (USD22.3 million) this year, with part of the funds set aside to develop its burgeoning broadband operation which is looking to capitalise on strong demand and cater to the growing needs of small and medium enterprises (SMEs). The Philippine Daily Inquirer writes that the company expects to grow its broadband subscriber base by ‘double-digit rates’ this year, sustaining last year’s performance. The 2010 CAPEX target is roughly unchanged from 2009. Aniceto Franco III, vice president of BayanTel’s business segment, said: ‘Our growth in broadband was in the double-digit level last year and we expect another double-digit year in 2010’. The official went on to say that the company expanded its high speed internet base by 40% last year to more than 100,000 users. ‘We expect to maintain that rate of growth, or maybe even surpass that,’ he said.
Franco went on to say that BayanTel is investing heavily in the National Digital Transmission Network (NDTN), a fibre-optic network spanning the length of the country which is owned by a consortium of BayanTel and six other major telcos: Smart Communications, Globe Telecommunications, Express Telecommunications, Eastern Telecommunications, Philippine Telephone & Telegraph Co. (PT&T) and Digital Telecommunications (Digitel). BayanTel, which is currently under a corporate rehabilitation programme slated to end in 2023, owns about 65% of the NDTN though. At the end of 2009, BayanTel said it had repaid about PHP4.65 billion out of about PHP15 billion in obligations under the long-term rehab plan.