US provides P118-M grant to support 5G deployment in Phl

Nokia Bell Labs managing partner Stefan Wilhelm (seated left) and NOW Telecom chairman and CEO Mel Velasco Velarde (seated right) sign the P118-million USTDA grant in the presence of US Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs Daniel Kritenbrink and DICT Undersecretary Angelo Nuestro. (Photo courtesy of US Embassy)

The United States government, through the US Trade and Development Agency, is providing NOW Telecom Company, Inc. a P118 million ($2.15 million) grant to fund a feasibility study for the development of reliable and secure nationwide 5G mobile and broadband networks in the Philippines.

NOW Telecom has selected New Jersey-based Bell Labs Consulting, part of Bell Labs, the research arm of Nokia, to conduct the study.

The grant agreement was signed by NOW Telecom chairman and CEO Mel Velasco Velarde and Nokia Bell Labs managing partner Stefan Wilhelm during the 10th US-Philippines Bilateral Strategic Dialogue in Manila on 20 January.  US Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs Daniel Kritenbrink, US Ambassador to the Philippines MaryKay Carlson, and Department of Information and Communications Undersecretary for Connectivity Angelo Nuestro witnessed the signing.

“This 5G grant demonstrates the US’ commitment to developing quality digital infrastructure and increasing access to affordable connectivity in the Philippines,” Kritenbrink said.

For his part, Nuestro said, “The open innovation platform that this partnership seeks to give will enable the broader Philippine society to take a leap toward a connected future.  We welcome these opportunities that will improve the lives of Filipinos.”

 

US Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs Daniel Kritenbrink (fifth from left) joins US Ambassador to the Philippines MaryKay Carlson (fourth from left), Philippine Ambassador to the United States Jose Manuel Romualdez (second from right), and representatives from DICT, NOW Telecom, and Nokia Bell Labs Consulting at the signing of the USTDA grant for 5G deployment in the Philippines on 20 January. (Photo courtesy of US Embassy)

Under the USTDA grant, the feasibility study will provide NOW Telecom the necessary analysis, designs, and plans for the phased implementation of the project.  It will also include the establishment of a 5G pilot network at multiple sites in Metro Manila to validate network performance, test 5G use cases, and provide data to inform larger-scale deployment.

This project aims to support the digital transformation of the Philippines by helping to meet the growing demand for high-bandwidth, reliable, and secure digital services from households and industry in the Philippines.

The feasibility study grant furthers US digital policy in line with the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework, which aims to promote secure digital infrastructure in the region to bolster economic growth and facilitate open digital societies.


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