December 2, 2023

The provincial governments of Kalinga, Benguet, and Mountain Province signed a memorandum of agreement with Converge ICT Solutions, Inc. on Sept. 17 to pave the way for the laying of fiber optic cables for better internet connectivity in the region.
Converge North Luzon General Manager John Paul Aguilar said there is an ongoing rollout of fiber optic in the various cities and municipalities of the Cordillera starting in the major thoroughfares to the far-flung areas.
Aguilar, during the MOA signing at the Baguio Convention Center, said Converge has business centers in Baguio and La Trinidad, Benguet where customers could easily reach them. Additional service centers will be put up in other urbanized areas soon.
“With the ongoing pandemic, the contactless and digital transaction is the way to go,” he said.
Clarence Alvarado of Metroworks ICT said one of the major components of the project is the laying of the backbone network, which are underground fiber facilities using the method of horizontal directional drilling, manual trenching, and aerial method.
He said the timeline for the laying down of the primary and secondary backbone as well as the broadband fiber-to-the-home (FTTH) in the region is until 2023.
Phase 1 of Converge’s optical distribution network project would be implemented on the fourth quarter of 2021 up to the second quarter of 2022.
The project covers the towns of Sablan, Tuba, Itogon, Tublay, Atok, Buguias, and Mankayan in Benguet; Tadian, Bauko, Sabangan, Sagada, Bontoc, and Sadanga in Mountain Province; Tinglayan, Lubuagan, Rizal, and Tabuk City in Kalinga; and San Quintin, Piddigan, Pennarubia, and Bangued in Abra.
For the second phase, which is 2022 up to 2023, it would cover Kapangan, Kabayan, and Bokod in Benguet; Banaue, Lagawe, Lamut, Mayoyao, Kiangan, Hingyon, Aguinaldo, and Alfonso Lista in Ifugao; Danglas, Lapaz, Tayum, Dolores, and San Juan in Abra; Conner, Kabugao, Sta. Marcela, Flora, Pudtol, and Luna in Apayao; Paracelis, Natonin, and Barlig in Mountain Province; Pasil, Balbalan, and Pinukpuk in Kalinga.
Baguio Mayor Benjamin Magalong said the city is currently pursuing digitalization projects in partnership with Converge in line with smart city project.
Sagada Mayor James Pooten thanked Converge for its project that would enhance Internet connections especially in the far-flung areas of the municipalities.
“Aside from the need of WiFi for the students and teachers in our municipality, we also need the Internet signal for the online registration since we are planning on reopening our tourism,” Pooten said.
Converge CEO Dennis Anthony Uy, in his video message, said they are aiming to build a world-class digital highway in the Cordillera. He said the company would be putting up satellite broadband technology for hard-to-reach areas.
Converge aims to reach 55 percent of the country’s total households by 2025, as it continues to expand to new areas such as those in Visayas and Mindanao and deepen its presence in regions where it currently operates.
Also present during the MOA signing were Govs. Melchor Diclas of Benguet and Bonifacio Lacwasan Jr. of Mountain Province; Mayors Darwin Estranero of Tabuk and Constito Masweng of Tadian; and Chief Presidential Legal Counsel Salvador Panelo. – Ofelia C. Empian