Converge ICT Solutions Inc. said Friday it is installing a new technology to further protect its nationwide fiber network from natural calamities, following the challenges in restoration brought about by the devastation of Typhoon Odette.
“We’ve had a lot of hard-earned lessons from super typhoon Odette, particularly on ‘disaster-proofing’ the network. With downed poles and infrastructure still a problem in Cebu today, there are challenges in restoring connection. We want to make sure that we will be better prepared in the face of future calamities,” Converge ICT chief executive Dennis Anthony Uy said.
The company said that as the fiber lines are connected through electric poles, and some streets are still impassable, last-mile connection to the homes of subscribers were difficult to establish. It said while Converge’s own network equipment is ready for service, the infrastructure of utility companies needed to connect subscribers’ homes is still being repaired.
Converge said it plans to use micro-trenching technology to put key connectivity elements underground, doing away with the need to rely on poles which are prone to damage during typhoons.
“In the face of increasing risks brought about by climate change, we will ensure that we establish resilient connectivity by using the latest technology to put our fiber infrastructure underground where it will not be exposed to various elements that can damage the network,” Uy said.
“We look forward to working with local and national government agencies to ensure that we can roll out more underground cables at the soonest possible time,” he said.
The company said given the reliance of the network on third-party power suppliers, it secured additional power generation sets and fuel storage to make its network self-sufficient. The company deployed satellite phones for the use of the network restoration teams.
It said that for manpower response, it doubled the installation and repair teams in Cebu for speedier restoration and repair in viable areas.
Converge also put in place redundancy loops from Luzon to Visayas and Mindanao last year to make its network more resilient.
A redundancy loop is a network structure that fortifies the primary route of the network by adding a secondary path for data to pass through in case of a failure in the main route.
This makes sure there’s no service downtime and subscribers’ connection to the fiber backbone remains unhampered. This also means strengthened network availability and stability.
Converge established a dedicated business continuity and disaster recovery team to quickly respond to emergencies.
While communication networks are still being restored, Converge has diversified ways to establish alternative means of connection: In the typhoon’s landing point, Siargao, Converge immediately deployed very small aperture terminals (VSAT) or satellite connectivity to provide broadband service to the island’s communities.