Converge ICT looks to a resilient network to counter calamities

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Converge ICT Solutions Inc. announced on Friday that it is installing new technology to further protect its national fiber network against natural disasters, following restoration challenges caused by the devastation of Typhoon Odette.

“We have learned many hard-learned lessons from Super Typhoon Odette, particularly on network ‘disaster protection’. With fallen poles and infrastructure still a problem in Cebu today, it is difficult to re-establish the connection. We want to make sure we are better prepared for future calamities,” said Converge ICT Managing Director Dennis Anthony Uy.

The company said that because fiber lines are connected via utility poles and some streets are still impassable, last-mile connection to subscribers’ homes was difficult to establish. He said while Converge’s network equipment is ready to go, the utility company infrastructure needed to connect subscribers’ homes is still being repaired.

Converge said it plans to use micro-trenching technology to put key connectivity elements underground, eliminating the need to rely on poles that could be damaged during typhoons.

“In the face of increasing risks brought about by climate change, we will ensure that we build resilient connectivity by using the latest technologies to put our fiber infrastructure underground where it will not be exposed to various elements that can damage the network,” said Uy. .

“We look forward to working with local and state government agencies to ensure we can deploy more underground cables sooner rather than later,” he said.

The company said that given the network’s reliance on third-party electricity providers, it has secured additional generators and fuel storage to make its network self-sufficient. The company has deployed satellite phones for use by network restoration teams.

He said for the workforce response, he had doubled installation and repair crews in Cebu for faster restoration and repair in viable areas.
Converge also implemented redundancy loops from Luzon to Visayas and Mindanao last year to make its network more resilient.

A redundancy loop is a network structure that strengthens the main route of the network by adding a secondary path for the passage of data in case the main route fails.

This ensures that there is no service downtime and that subscribers’ connection to the fiber backbone remains unhindered. It also means enhanced network availability and stability.

Converge has established a dedicated business continuity and disaster recovery team to respond quickly to emergencies.

While communication networks are still being restored, Converge has diversified ways to establish alternative means of connection: at the typhoon’s landfall, Siargao, Converge immediately deployed Very Small Aperture Terminals (VSAT) or satellite connectivity to provide broadband service to island communities.

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