NOW Corp. eyeing slice of residential broadband clientele

NOW Corp. is entering the massive residential broadband business as it hopes to capture a small but loyal slice of a market being aggressively pursued by industry giants PLDT Inc. and Globe Telecom.

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NOW president and CEO Mel Velarde told reporters in a briefing Tuesday that the company would utilize its fiber air service, which it had successfully rolled out for businesses such as banks, schools, hospitals and hotels.

The next step is homes and Velarde said there was a market for NOW’s guaranteed broadband rates.

“Families want enterprise-grade service,” he said, referring to the type of internet quality typically demanded by businesses.

Using its fiber air technology, NOW hopes to go around regulatory bottlenecks experienced by the telcos in laying down fiber cables for their broadband connections. Moreover, it can pursue a modular approach to expansion, helping mitigate upfront capital spending.

NOW has so far launched its broadband service in Corinthian Gardens, an upscale neighborhood in Quezon City.

“This is wireless. We will be able to cover Metro Manila easily through partners,” Velarde said.

With partners, NOW’s home broadband could be available across the capital district within 12 months, he said. He is also targeting to expand in Davao and Cebu City by next year.

NOW’s partners will help the company penetrate certain areas and, in exchange, receive a commission.

For Metro Manila, Velarde is targeting a relatively small market of 400,000 homes and small businesses in five years. Their current 100 fiber air hubs will increase to over 450.

Funding will come from a P1 billion preferred share sale, which has convertible features, which Velarde hopes to close by the first quarter of 2018.

Broadband so far accounts for 20 percent of NOW’s revenues, most of which come from its IT services arm. NOW’s IT customers include the Philippine National Bank, the Supreme Court and the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas.

Velarde said they hope to increase broadband to 50 percent of revenues and then 80 percent in two years. /cbb

source: http://business.inquirer.net/240277/business-broadband-now-corp-pldt-globe-telecom-mel-velarde-fiber-air-service-it

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