LISTED fiber internet service provider Converge ICT Solutions, Inc. said the approval of its tax incentives will allow more room for the company to further expand its fiber network to reach its goal of covering 55% of households in the Philippines.
“Securing tax breaks from FIRB (Fiscal Incentives Review Board) will allow Converge more room for expansion of FTTH (fiber-to-the-home) ports towards our 2023 goal of deploying 7.5 million to 8 million ports to cover 55% of Philippine households,” said Maria Grace Y. Uy, co-founder and president of Converge, during the company’s annual stockholders’ meeting on May 27.
The FIRB recently approved the application for tax incentives of Converge and three other telecommunications companies.
The tax incentives granted to Converge include a four-year income tax holiday, five years of enhanced deductions, and 11 years of duty exemption on equipment and raw materials. These were granted to Converge for its fiber optic network for high-speed internet broadband, with a total project cost of P150.6 billion.
Finance Secretary and FIRB Chairman Carlos G. Dominguez III said in a statement that the government expects Converge to deliver on its performance commitment of “faster and cheaper internet access” in remote areas, as “this will not only address our pain points with regard to connectivity but also provide more employment opportunities to our people in rural areas.”
SkyTowers Infra, Inc., Frontier Tower Associates Philippines, Inc., and Transcend Towers Infrastructure Philippines, Inc. were also granted tax incentives.
Converge said it believes the FIRB approval was a recognition of the “missionary nature” of its project, which is expected to “bring connectivity to marginalized areas of the Philippines.”
“Broadband connectivity is one of the priority sectors that have a direct impact on AmBisyon Natin 2040, the government’s long-term vision for the nation,” it said in a statement.
Converge, which saw its attributable net income increase by 27% to P1.97 billion in the first three months of the year, targets to roll out fiber-to-the-home infrastructure to cover more than 1,200 unserved and underserved towns nationwide.
Converge ICT shares closed 1.70% lower at P26.05 apiece on Monday. — Arjay L. Balinbin