Keppel Telecommunications & Transportation’s (Keppel T&T) wholly-owned subsidiary, Keppel Midgard Holdings Pte. Ltd. (KMH), has signed a binding term sheet with leading Philippine fibre broadband provider Converge Information & Communications Technology Solutions, Inc. (Converge) to grant Converge an Indefeasible Right of Use (IRU) for one fibre pair on the main trunk of Bifrost Cable System, which directly connects Singapore to the west coast of North America. The Bifrost Cable System will branch into and land in Davao, the Philippines.
KMH and Converge will jointly develop the branch on the Bifrost Cable System that will land in Davao, Philippines, with Converge also being granted an IRU on the entire Davao branch. Converge will be engaged as the landing party for the Davao branch segment. The additional branch will significantly increase internet speeds and network diversity for businesses and consumers in the Philippines. Converge will invest over US$100 million (around PhP5 billion) for the whole project.
Keppel (under the name of KMH) is the leading investor in the Bifrost cable system. Keppel announced earlier, KMH has been granted a Facilities-Based Operator (FBO) licence to own, maintain and operate telecoms infrastructure in Singapore, and KMH’s share of the total project costs in the Bifrost Cable System as a joint build partner will be approximately US$350 million (approximately S$467 million).
According to Converge, its investment into one full fibre pair, connecting the Philippine to Singapore and the west coast of North America, will allow Converge to independently activate at will up to 15Tbps of capacity to either country using the latest technology.
Converge is the fastest growing fiber internet and other digital consumer-centric services provider in the Philippines. The Bifrost cable system will connecting to Converge’s landing station in Davao. Converge is also set to finish a separate 1,800-km domestic undersea cable system that will connect the main islands of the Philippines. This will allow Converge to distribute capacity from Bifrost to the rest of the Philippines.
The Bifrost Cable System directly connects Singapore to the United States via the Java Sea and and Celebes Sea, jointly built by Keppel, Facebook and Telin, supplied by Alcatel Submarine Networks (ASN). The Bifrost cable system is expected to be completed in 2024. Meanwhile, Facebook and Google are jointly building another project with similar route, the Echo subsea cable system, scheduled to be ready for service in 2023.