ARMM approves TierOne $60m telecoms investment
07 July 2017 | Natalie Bannerman
TierOne Communications confirm that the proposed 3 billion pesos ($60 million) telecommunications investment has been approved by the Regional Board of Investors (RBOI) of the Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao (ARMM).
“In today’s interconnected world with the rise of social media, web-based businesses and a global supply chain using the internet, such investment in telecommunications by TierOne in the ARMM will make the region more integrated and plugged into the rest of the country, while allowing the region to access and compete in the burgeoning Asean economy, as well as, the global market,” said Ishak Mastura, chairman and managing head of RBOI, which approved the investment during their 3rd joint management committee and board of governors meeting.
The project aims to put up a telecommunications carrier in the ARMM area, plans were to originally deploy this first in Marawi City but due to the ongoing siege in the area have decided to pilot the program by building facilities in the ARMM government compound in Cotabato City to serve ARMM government agencies. The company confirmed that they would still push to rollout the program Marawi City and build it state of the art telecommunications infrastructure, once it gets the greenlight from the government and all in line with their rehabilitation and reconstruction program.
The company intends on covering the entire ARMM area under the new investment, and provisions have been made for expansion and the infusion of additional capital if needed.
TierOne, which is 70% owned by Filipinos and 30% Australians obtained a franchise to operate as a telecommunications service provider from the Regional Legislative Assembly of the ARMM a number of years ago.
“In previous years, we were not able to get a spectrum from the Regional Telecommunications Commission since the National Telecommunications Commission had not allocated the same for ARMM. So we did not start commercial operations in the region even though we had already put up transmission towers. However, we believe that with the oft-expressed desire of President Rodrigo Duterte to open up the telecommunications sector in the Philippines, this is the right time to restart the project,” said Jonathon Bentley Stevens, president of TierOne.
The project will itself will provide mobile 2G, 3G, 4G, LTE, broadband wireless internet to homes and enterprises, as well as Wifi for public or common areas. With internet service achieving approximately 3,000Kbps in download speeds, it will also provide coverage for Voice Over Internet Protocol (Vo`IP) services, utilising fiber optics and satellite relay with international gateway facility.
The regional governor of ARMM, Mujiv Sabbihi Hataman, praised the two companies for continuing to push the project forward despite the setbacks saying: “Since the Regional Telecommunications Commission is directly under the Office of the regional governor, we will work to make the project a reality in the ARMM.”
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