NOW CORP. on Thursday announced it signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the National Transmission Corp. (TransCo) for the use of the latter’s fiber and microwave assets for the establishment of a nationwide fixed broadband network.
“The MoU enables the parties to collaborate on the potential use of TransCo’s existing fiber and microwave assets nationwide, of use and access in certain fiber-optic cores, vacant lots, tower spaces, and related facilities currently being operated on by NGCP (National Grid Corp. of the Philippines) and owned by TransCo, for the purpose of building a nationwide fixed broadband network,” the company said in a statement.
The MoU was signed by TransCo, Now Corp. and its affiliate Now Telecom Company.
“Now is determined to build an independent nationwide backbone to cover the entire country and we are seriously looking on the viability of collaborating with TransCo to achieve this end. We now have a government committed to exhaust all means to solve the digital divide,” Thomas G. Aquino, Now Corp. chairman, was quoted as saying.
Mel V. Velarde, Now Corp. president and CEO, said with its newly renewed 25-year franchise, the company “will co-lead in the unfolding of the full transformation of the digital Filipino.”
Now Corp. is one of the companies keen on becoming the “third” telecommunications player in the country. In February, it was granted an extension of its franchise as a telco, until 2043.
The company has been upgrading its systems to provide improved broadband services in Metro Manila, through a partnership with affiliate Now Telecom. It rolled out its pre-5G technologies to deliver broadband and wireless cable and TV connectivity to enterprises in 2016.
In March, Philippine Telegraph & Telephone Corp., which is also interested in becoming the third player, signed an MoU with TransCo for the use by the telco of the latter’s dark (unused) fiber.
Information and Communications Technology Secretary Eliseo M. Rio, Jr. has said PT&T and TransCo’s MoU for the use of its dark fiber is already a precedent which interested parties can follow. He has said that agreements can happen given that by far, privately held NGCP has not expressed any opposition to the agreement between PT&T and TransCo.
TransCo earlier opposed NGCP’s move to allow third parties to use government property without authority. This includes NGCP’s authorization of PLDT, Inc. and Globe Telecom, Inc. to access the power grid operator’s facilities.
Now Corp. realized a 248% jump in net income to P3.53 million during the first quarter of 2018, lifted by gross revenues that went up 3% to P33.85 million for the period. — Patrizia Paola C. Marcelo