Saturday, June 22, 2024

Satellite Internet, hyperscale business ‘next big things’ for PLDT 

BORACAY, Aklan — PLDT’s data center project in Laguna is just one of many significant investments of the telco giant in its goal to make the Philippines the next hyperscaler hub for the Asia Pacific region, PLDT Global president and CEO Albert Villa-Real said in an interview during the opening day of the Asian Carriers Conference 2022 being held in this island-resort.  

PLDT Global president and CEO Albert Villa-Real gestures during the Asian Carriers Conference 2022 in Boracay Island in Aklan

The Vitro Data Center in Sta.Rosa is set to increase the total rack capacity of ePLDT, the PLDT Group’s ICT subsidiary, which is currently at 74% utilization, in support of the Department of Trade and Industry’s push for greater capacity to meet the needs of the hyperscaler industry.  

According to Villa-Real, the hyperscale business is a game-changing opportunity not just in the Philippines, but on a global scale, with large companies like Google and Alibaba having a greater demand for space and capacity. 

Recently, research and consultancy firm Dell’Oro Group published a report revealing that US-based cloud hyperscalers like Amazon and Microsoft have increased data center capital expenditure by 45%, driven by the need for footprint expansion and accelerated computing adoption. 

Meanwhile, in the context of a planned satellite-delivered internet testing with listed company AST SpaceMobile, he also said that space-based Internet has the potential to be the next pivotal type of connection once the technology becomes cheaper.

“It’s expensive. At a certain point when they’re able to commoditize it as well and make it more affordable to customers, then that would be the next big thing. At the moment, the investments we do for the submarine cables have been very significant, maybe for the next five to ten years still,” he shared.  

The Jupiter Cable system Villa-Real mentioned has brought PLDT’s total number of international cabling systems to 17, increasing both the telco’s submarine cable route diversity and international data center capacity. Along with five other companies, the 14,600km cable is capable of delivering up to 18 to 20Tbps from each of its five fiber pairs.  

“At the end of the day, it’s all about capacity and removing the latencies. Every time we go into a consortium and build these new submarine cables, we have to make sure that the end-to-end is practically the speed of light. We have so many undersea cables already, I think there is still opportunity to build more,” the executive said.  

He also noted that because of the pandemic, and the resulting rise of the virtual space across industries, PLDT and other digital companies were able to capitalize on what assets they already had.  

“We have proven that productivity can thrive virtually. For many individuals and organizations, the most important lesson of these last two years is the realization that transformative change is not as difficult to implement as long the right motivation is there,” Villa-Real explained.

Following a two-year hiatus due to mobility restrictions and lockdowns, PLDT hosted the five-day annual telecom conference and gathered telecom and ICT professionals in Asia who are seeking to collaborate and forge partnerships with other businesses in the industry.  

In the past, ACC was held in Cebu City before moving to Boracay this year, attracting more than 1,500 delegates from over 400 companies across roughly 60 countries. The convention acts as a venue for thought-leadership discussions and workshops, exhibits from sponsors and partners, and networking opportunities.  

Malay, Aklan mayor Frolibar Bautista expressed his gratitude to PLDT and its partners for bringing the event to the island of Boracay. He also encouraged the delegates in promoting Boracay as a must-see destination to boost the local tourism industry.

“I hope there will be fruitful business transactions that will be consummated today and we hope you all have an enjoyable stay and vacation,” he said.  

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