ANGELES CITY — With digitalization seen as an underlying force in the modernization of education and ICT, Converge ICT Solutions Inc. is backing the government’s move for universal connectivity and for the broader use of technology in aid of education.
This forms part of the marching orders of President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. to the Department of Information and Communication Technology (DICT) and the Department of Education (DepEd), respectively during his first State of the Nation Address (SONA).
“As the world moves to rapid digitalization, the digital divide will be more pronounced. This will open new opportunities for creation of wealth but will also likely create inequalities. Hence, universal connectivity will be a vital component to make sure that no citizen is left behind,” noted President Marcos.
On education, President Marcos stressed that access to connectivity and to modern digital tools are key in improving the education materials made available to the country’s school children.
“Children now need connectivity to the internet and the devices and tools so that they may participate fully in the digital community, here and abroad,” he emphasized.
“We’re pleased that the new administration is prioritizing universal connectivity, especially at this critical time when digitalization is at the heart of everything that we do. Converge is supportive of this initiative, as we push for digital democracy in the Philippines,” said Dennis Anthony Uy, CEO and Co-Founder of Converge ICT Solutions.
The Broadband Commission for Sustainable Development, a body established by the International Telecommunications Union and UNESCO, defines ‘meaningful universal connectivity’ as a context where anyone, anywhere, regardless of geographic location, socio-economic status, race, gender, or any other differentiating demographic, has access to affordable services and devices to connect to reliable and safe internet. The UN has set aspirational targets for 2030 towards meaningful and universal connectivity which covers universality, technology, and affordability. Among these targets is that 100% of the country’s households, businesses and schools have Internet access.
This concept dovetails with the mission of Converge to extend connectivity to the farthest and least developed areas of the country.
Connecting the unserved and underserved communities has been the mission of Converge since its inception and in fact, has accelerated by two years its target of covering 55% of Philippine households with fiber connectivity to next year.
Converge has also been leveraging complementary technology in pursuit of this mission. Last year, it partnered with a foreign satellite company to provide satellite broadband connection to over 2,000 public schools.
“We have ensured that we have the correct infrastructure in place and built our own domestic backbone and network so that world-class, resilient, and high-speed pure fiber connectivity is ready for service to Filipinos nationwide. With this digital infrastructure, we are more than ready to assist the government in the efforts to achieve universal connectivity,” added Uy.
Since 2020, Converge has been on an aggressive rollout nationwide of its fiber network. As of Q1 2022, its network has passed 12 million homes, and a household coverage of 47.3% in the Philippines. This meant that some 645,000 fiber ports were rolled out in the first three months of 2022 alone.
The total fiber assets of Converge – which includes the domestic backbone and the submarine cable segment – numbers to over 523,000 kilometers as of April 2022. This makes it one of the most extensive fiber networks in the country and undoubtedly the youngest, since the network is just two years old in terms of average service age.
“Converge is one with the government in the pursuit to rebuild the economy as we move forward from the pandemic. It may be a long and tedious process, but Converge is there to ensure that digital infrastructure and broadband access will be tools for economic recovery,” added Uy.
In addition to pushing for universal connectivity, President Marcos instructed the DICT to use emerging technologies (such as Internet of Things, artificial intelligence, etc.) to improve governance and ”transform government to an agile bureaucracy that is responsive to the needs of the public.