COTABATO CITY—Modern-day telecommunication features of a Marawi City that is risen from the ruins of its current siege will include a faster, state-of-the art Wi-Fi Internet connection and broader range of mobile phone signals.
The TierOne Communications International recently reaffirmed its P3-billion investment commitment for telecommunications projects in Marawi, saying it will be over and above a P20-billion government rehabilitation spending previously announced.
TierOne president Jonathon Bentley Stevens said the investment program seeks to put up a telecommunications carrier in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, with Marawi as the proposed site of its first rollout program.
The TierOne telecommunications program is capable of providing cellular service in 2G, 3G, 4G, LTE, and broadband wireless internet to homes and enterprises, as well as WiFi for public or common areas.
With the fastest internet service of 3,000 kB/s download speeds, it will provide coverage for Voice Over Internet Protocol (VOIP) services. It will be using the latest technology such as fiber optics and satellite relay with international gateway facility.
Stevens said TierOne’s “commercial preparations for project” have been deferred, after the company had put up “the initial facilities such as transmission towers,” since the National Telecommunications had not prior allocated telecommunications projects for the ARMM.
The project has been further slowed down by the Marawi siege, which prompted the company to re-evaluate its business plan and program of works.
“In previous years, we were not able to get a spectrum from the Regional Telecommunications Commission since the National Telecommunications Commission had not allocated the same for the ARMM. So we did not start commercial operations in the region even though we had already put up the initial facilities such as transmission towers,” Stevens said.
“However, we believe that with the oft-expressed desire of President Rodrigo Duterte to open up the telecommunications sector in the Philippines, this is the right time to restart the project,” he added.
Lawyer Ishak Mastura, ARMM Regional Board of Investment chairman and managing head, said that during its 3rd Joint Management Committee and Board of Governors Meeting Tuesday, the RBOI-ARMM approved the P3-billion investment of TierOne.
“In today’s interconnected world with the rise of social media, web-based businesses and a global supply chain using the internet, such investment in telecommunications by TierOne in the ARMM will make the region more integrated and plugged into the rest of the country, while allowing the region to access and compete in the burgeoning Asean economy, as well as, the global market,” said Mastura.
Stevens said TierOne has been better prepared to continue with the pending rollout program for Marawi City to complement the government’s rehabilitation and reconstruction program for the devastated city, one by putting up there its planned state-of-the-art telecommunications infrastructure projects.
The company has earlier decided to instead start its first pilot program of telecommunications project by installing facilities in the ARMM government compound in this city, serving ARMM government agencies.
TierOne intends to eventually cover the entire geographical areas of the ARMM, with US$60 million or P3 billion in investment package, and an assurance of infusion of additional capital as needed for expansion.