Villar-led Streamtech Systems Technologies (SST), which was granted a 25-year franchise to construct and operate a telecommunications system throughout the Philippines by President Duterte in October 2018, is seeking a licence to deploy high speed fixed internet across the country, the Philippine Daily Inquirer reports. Manuel Paolo Villar is cited as saying that SST has applied to the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) for the requisite certificate of public convenience and necessity (CPCN) to allow it to launch a nationwide broadband service.
SST is a venture of the group of companies owned by Filipino tycoon Manuel Villar which in April 2018 announced plans to get into the domestic telecoms market via the New Major Player (NMP) selection process. Having backed out of that race in November saying it ‘would rather pursue other internal expansion plans and strategies,’ it is now looking to capitalise on the 25-year franchise to go it alone. Granted through the signing of Republic Act No 11089 on 18 October 2018, the franchise entitles SST to maintain for commercial purposes an international gateway facility to connect the Philippines to other countries, which includes ‘wireless telecommunications systems, international and national broadband system, mobile and cellular, including but not limited to fibre-optics [and] multichannel multipoint distribution systems,’ among other features. If it can secure its CPCN, it would be able to get NTC authorisation for the use of radio frequencies to deploy wireless broadband countrywide. SST hopes to obtain its NTC licence ‘within the year’.
The Villars currently provide fixed line internet services in a limited number of areas under the brand Planet Cable but have an ambitious plan to deploy fast internet to roughly half a million homes built by Vista Land & Lifescapes, the property company founded by Manuel Villar Jr. ‘We will try to do it very fast, within three years,’ Villar said when asked about the group’s rollout plans.