Future IT Hub
Bohol gains global IT
power thru PLDT fiber
Bohol has acquired at age 160 a connectivity strength it has long needed to be truly global and competitive in major forces of advancement driven by information communications technology.
The launching of PLDT’s Domestic Fiber Optic Network (DFON) in the marking of the province’s founding a century and six decades ago on Tuesday, July 22, signaled Bohol’s major development transition, according to Gov. Edgar Chatto.
The P700 million project will make Bohol ready to compete in the global information technology – business process outsourcing (IT-BPO), an industry forecast to generate $25 billion revenue in the country and directly employ 1.3 million Filipinos by 2016.
With the fiber optic link providing the backbone of high-speed internet and digital information transmission, and fully knowing well its infinite impact on countless modes of progress and human movement, “Bohol (now) has it all,” Nazareno declared.
He was fully optimistic that Bohol, with Tagbilaran City on the industry front seat, will be enabled to become a new IT-BPO hub in the country, describing the DFON as a “game changer for the Boholanos.”
A Boholano, the top PLDT/Smart honcho and the governor led the switch-on ceremony on the 160th Bohol Day at Bohol Cultural Center, where they were joined by Vice Gov. Concepcion, First District Rep. Rene Relampagos, and Tagbilaran City Mayor John Geesnell Yap II and Vice Mayor Jose Antonio Veloso.
The momentous event was even witnessed by Chinese Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary Zhao Jianhua, who was the honored guest and speaker of the commemoration keynoted by Nazareno.
Chatto said the DFON has effectively updated the province’s development framework and poised to finally satisfy the ICT needs of Bohol now and in the foreseeable future.
With this development, Bohol is primed to call the shots in the global industry, and the world has to start rethinking of Bohol from about what it is not to what it can now be and potentially more can do, the governor added.
The disaster- and climate change-resilient fiber link has transfused a powerful energy into the third leg of Bohol’s economic tripod which is the IT-BPO industry, the governor said.
Tourism and agro-industry have been the two other strong pillars of Bohol’s economic development and growth, with the IT-driven industry now primed to give the triumvirate balance.
The DFON will hasten IT-BPO industry growth, make tourism more flourishing, enable many other businesses and developments, and drive small and medium enterprises to greater growth, among other capacities it can dispose.
Department of Trade and Industry Regional Director Asteria Caberte confirmed a number of BPO investors having already registered their strong intent to establish in Bohol.
“Fiber will now help turn the potential of the outsourcing industry to realize big-income employment in Bohol. The BPOs depend on high-speed internet as well as high-bandwidth connectivity, and fiber is a key enabler of these services,” said Eric Alberto, PLDT executive vice president and head of enterprise and international and carrier businesses.
The Bohol DFON is set up at an initial transmission capacity of 40 Gbps or gigabytes per second (Bohol’s capacity pegged at only 2.5 Gbps before the project), allowing 160,000 call center seats, 41 million point of sales (PoS) transactions and 5.1 million automated teller machine (ATM) transactions, according to Arvin Siena, head of the PLDT network planning and engineering group.
With all these in the next two or three years, the DFON is capable of carrying data up to 5.13 Terabytes per second (Tbps).
PLDT’s difference-making connectivity venture in Bohol includes enabling 3G/HSPA mobile connection in all towns, rolling out eight long-term evolution (LTE) sites, seven fiber to the home (FTTH) sites, and 37 sites for DSL broadband.
“We have looked with envy at other provinces which gained a headstart in IT-BPO, and this landmark project certainly addresses the gap,” Chato said.
According to the governor, the new, empowering capacity is vital not just because of the promise it holds for the industry or for its breadth and scale.He pointed out its importance to the maintained focus on socially inclusive, equitable growth that will raise human development to a dignifying degree.
Part of PLDT’s 90,000-kilometer “most extensive fiber optic network in the country,” the project consists of 328 kilometers of fiber optic submarine and inland cables rolled out from Cebu to Bohol all the way to Mindanao via Misamis Oriental.
AN “X” FACTOR
The fiber optic line is an “X” factor of the development in other places that Bohol has been obsessed to possess in the pursuit of its aspirations.
Recognizing Bohol’s vision, Nazareno was bullish in his keynote speech that the governor “will (now) be able to attract more call center and outsourcing companies that can hire many more (qualified) graduates from universities and colleges in Bohol.”
“Tagbilaran can really become another ICT center in the country,” confidently reiterated the executive of the country’s biggest telecom company whose father is a Boholano.
To support it, the industry’s national road map has identified these priority activities: Driving standard and accreditation to ensure a better match the skills of the graduates with requirements of the industry; more aggressive internal marketing of the local talent pool; strengthening awareness of the Philippine value proposition in IT, voice and non-voice BPO services in existing and new markets; advocating high impact public policies; and strengthening public-private partnership with government to fund key programs like study-to-work training..
The outsourcing, including the global in-house center (GIC) industry, can genuinely complement with tourism and agro-industry towards the full recovery of Bohol from the great earthquake and taming of the province’s vision of inclusive growth.
Tourism will benefit much from the DFON as it meets the ICT demands of Bohol when it is also transformed into a new aviation hub with the rise and operation of the international airport in Panglao, plus the planned tourism enterprise zones and industrial parks in other strategic areas.
With the various efficient cloud services in place, a high-speed internet will satisfy the tourists and guests who come expectant of fast and easy connectivity Of manifold connectivity power than copper, the fiber link can further improve learning system as students scour speedily on worldwide web while it betters government performance thru a reliably quick access to its online services.
As it signals the openness of the investment climate in Bohol and its desirability as a location, the marvelous connectivity endeavor “can only lead to greater things,” Chatto said with confidence. (Ven rebo Arigo)
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