By FRANK DOSDOS
The National Grid Corporation of the Philippines yesterday clarified it was not vying to become the country’s third telecommunications service provider, but that it has finally reached a “mutual decision” with the government for the use of its fiber optic cable network.
Currently, NGCP’s fiber optics infrastructure, borne by the nationwide transmission grid that the company maintains and operates, is being used for internal purposes only.
In a statement from NGCP revealed that after a luncheon meeting with NGCP President and CEO Henry Sy, Jr, DICT OIC Undersecretary Eliseo Rio committed to partner with NGCP on the use of transmission facilities as backbone for the NBP for the duration of the latter’s Concession.
The statement said that Undersecretary Rio noted, “The core of the matter is who owns the dark fiber of NGCP/Transco. When it is turned over to TransCo, whatever agreement was done with NGCP may be modified, changed, or reviewed by TransCo.”
NGCP earlier reiterated that it is willing to enter into a bilateral agreement with the government for the lease of its fiber optic capacity available for use of third parties at no cost. “NGCP will enter into the agreement up to the life its Concession, which is until 2034, provided that in the event that the Concession is extended, the bilateral agreement will also be extended,” explained the company.
NGCP also added, “NGCP will not object to any separate agreement DICT signs with TransCo for so long as the exclusive rights of the company in relation to transmission and related businesses, for the entire duration of its concession are upheld.”
The statement added that NGCP’s existing fiber optic cable network enables real-time communication between transmission facilities, and with generators and distribution utilities. The fiber optic capacity to be leased out by the company uses transmission facilities.
“Allowing government or third parties to “piggy-back” on this transmission communication backbone will be critical in the immediate implementation of this government’s national broadband program, NGCP said.
“We are not interested in entering the telecommunications business.
Transmission operation remains to be the primary business of NGCP. The lease of available fiber optic capacity is specifically allowed under our concession as a ‘related business to maximize the utilization of its assets.’ Such lease agreement is contemplated by our concession and franchise and is not considered our primary mandate,” clarified the company.
NGCP is a Filipino-led, privately owned company in charge of operating, maintaining, and developing the country’s power grid, led by majority shareholders Henry Sy, Jr. and Robert Coyiuto,