July 26, 2017, 2:49 am
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TransCo wants say in NBN deal

The National Transmission Corp. (TransCo) wants to be involved in  the deal  the National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP) is crafting with the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) on a  plan to put up the national broadband network (NBN) using optic fibers located in power transmission lines especially since government owns the said lines.

 In a letter addressed to DICT Secretary Rodolfo Salalima dated June 29, 2017, TransCo president and chief executive officer Melvin Matibag clarified his agency does not disagree with the use of  the transmission lines for the NBN.

 “We object, however, to the way  this program is presented to the public and to the President that we are in the way of its implementation,” Matibag said.

Matibag also said TransCo is willing to cooperate on the NBN’s immediate implementation but reminded that NGCP’s contract with the government is limited.

 “We just have to remind the parties that in 15 years, the concession agreement between NGCP and the government will terminate and the operations and development of the national grid will revert to TransCo. As such, TransCo must be included as a party in the negotiation and execution of any agreement as involving the use of the transmission assets,” Matibag added.

NGCP earlier said it was preparing to formalize its agreement with the DICT on the use of the grid operator’s fiber optic network for the NBN.

 NGCP, through  its president and  chief executive officer Henry Sy Jr. expressed its support for the DICT’s  NBN  project as well as its  expedited implementation. 

“We are aware that a well-connected nation, such as South Korea and Sweden, enables a fast-paced exchange of knowledge and information needed to further propel our country’s growth,” said Sy in  a statement.

NGCP’s fiber optic cables covering 6,154 kilometers or 160,779 fiber kilometers is eyed to form the primary network of the government’s priority program of  bringing internet connection to every corner of the country.

 Primarily used for internal communication, the unused portion of the cables will help ease the infrastructure burden faced by DICT as it can piggyback on NGCP’s existing network. 

However, the company emphasized there is still a need for the government to provide last-mile connections and telecommunications-grade redundancies to deliver services to the end-users.

NGCP is a privately owned corporation in charge of operating, maintaining and developing the country’s power grid, it transmits electricity through interconnected system of transmission lines, towers, substations and related assets.

 In 2009, after a public bidding, TransCo, the state run firm which operates and manages the power transmission system turned over its management and operations to NGCP but ownership of all transmission assets remained with the government.
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