Amid the threat of fresh competition in the shape of a potential new third operator in the Philippines, dominant player PLDT Inc. has announced plans to expand its ultrafast broadband coverage to six million homes nationwide by 2020. In a statement over the weekend, the telco’s chairman and chief executive, Manuel Pangilinan, said: ’By 2019, virtually all of PLDT’s 1.2 million copper-based DSL subscribers will enjoy fibre-fast internet. PLDT will further expand its ultrafast broadband coverage to six million homes passed by 2020, reaching more areas of the country’.
The telco, which currently enjoys de facto duopoly status with Globe Telecom, closed 2017 with a total of four million homes passed with fibre – up 43% year-on-year – and increased the capacity of its fixed broadband network to over one million ports, double the number it reported at end-2015. The operator reported that last year the biggest increases in the number of ports or actual broadband lines were in the provinces of Cavite, Pampanga, Bataan, Zambales, Cebu, Pangasinan, Bulacan, Tarlac, Nueva Ecija and Laguna. PLDT is rolling out fibre-fast connectivity via the deployment of fibre-to-the-home (FTTH) facilities and the ‘fibrization’ of its existing copper-based network using hybrid technologies (e.g. VVDSL and G.fast). FTTH can deliver speeds of up to 1Gbps while hybrid fibre can provide data speeds ranging from 100Mbps (for VVDSL) up to 500Mbps (for G.fast) over copper lines. Pangilinan is on record as saying that his company will spend over PHP50 billion (approximately USD956 million) every year until 2020 to ‘supercharge’ both its fixed and mobile networks.