ESPRESSO MORNINGS

By Joe Zaldarriaga

The need for a better internet connectivity in the Philippines that is comparable to the rest of the world has become more crucial as businesses are now pivoting towards a digital economy.

This was boosted further by the Covid-19 pandemic when the series of lockdowns forced companies to temporarily close down physical stores and the switch to digital space became imperative.

In his first State of the Nation Address (SONA), President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. emphasized the importance of universal connectivity and the need to maximize the potential of these innovations in improving the customer experience when transacting business.

One of the most important developments aimed at the realization towards the expansion of internet connectivity in the Philippines is the common tower policy. Under this, telco companies are now freed from the costly capital of building their own towers, as this responsibility now lies in the hands of companies engaged solely in building tower infrastructures. This allows internet service providers to focus on their core business of providing improved services that their customers need.

The Meralco Industrial Engineering Services Corporation (MIESCOR) expressed its strong support to this. MIESCOR, a wholly owned subsidiary of the Manila Electric Company (MERALCO) joined forces with Stonepeak -- a US-based global infrastructure investor -- to actively pursue tower opportunities in the Asia Pacific region.

Just recently, their joint venture called MIESCOR Infrastructure Development Corp. (MIDC) inked a PHP26.2-billion tower sale and leaseback agreement with Globe, one of the Philippines’ major telco players.

The deal involves the sale and leaseback of 2,180 Globe towers and related passive telco infrastructure as well as an additional 750 build-to-suit towers. The deal also makes Globe the anchor tenant of the towers at a monthly rate of PHP100,000 per tower for an initial 15 years.

According to Meralco president and chief executive officer (CEO) Ray C. Espinosa, who is also chairman of MIDC, more opportunities will be pursued in line with the company’s aspiration to become one of the trusted telco tower operators in the Philippines, and ultimately, to be a proven government partner towards a better and a more advanced internet infrastructure.

The development of more common towers in the Philippines will be a boon to consumers, businesses and the bigger economy with technology expected to continue playing an important role in our pandemic recovery efforts.

Partnerships like this will likewise benefit us, ordinary consumers, in terms of better network quality and more resilient infrastructure that can withstand and quickly recover from typhoons and other calamities that usually affect our internet connection.

In taking part in the collective efforts to speed up the deployment and widen the reach of reliable Internet service, companies like MIDC play a huge role to the government’s nation-building efforts.

Editor’s note: The opinions expressed in the foregoing article are solely the author’s and do not reflect the opinions and beliefs of the Philippine News Agency (PNA) or any other office under the Office of the Press Secretary.

About the Columnist

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Joe Zaldarriaga is a veteran, award-winning communicator immersed in public service within and beyond the energy sector. He has more than 30 years of experience serving the country’s biggest electric distribution utility and is involved in a number of public service functions, as member of various committees on public safety, power supply security and electrification. Concurrently, he is a prominent figure in the Philippine communications industry, as Chairman and Past President of the US-based International Association of Business Communicators Philippines (IABC PH). He is also an awardee of the University of Manila’s Medallion of Honor (Dr. Mariano V. delos Santos Memorial) and a Scroll of Commendation, a testament to his celebrated years in public service exemplified by outstanding communications.

Joe also shares his opinion and outlook on relevant national and consumer issues as a columnist in several prominent publications and is now venturing into new media via hosting a new vlog called Cup of Joe. Previously, Joe was a reporter and desk editor of a Broadcasting Company and the former auditor of the Defense Press Corps of the Philippines. A true green Lasalian, he finished with a degree in Asian Studies specializing in the Japan Studies program at De La Salle University, Manila, where he also spent his entire education.