Fruit of Singapore F1 trip? Marcos says Converge, Keppel ink deal for faster internet

Job Manahan, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Feb 21 2023 07:30 PM

Linemen install cables for internet connection along Tomas Morato area in Quezon City on October 27, 2020. Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News
Linemen install cables for internet connection along Tomas Morato area in Quezon City on October 27, 2020. Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News

MANILA — Converge ICT and Singapore-based Keppel Telecommunications and Transportation Inc. will set up a subsea cable system that will include the country to boost connectivity, President Ferdinand Marcos, Jr. announced on Tuesday. 

Marcos said this was the result of his controversial, "semi-official" trip to Singapore in October last year for the F1 Grand Prix. 

The Bifrost Cable System Project can be considered "the world's first subsea cable system that directly connects Singapore to the west coast of North America," the Presidential Communications Office added, citing a meeting briefer. 

"Madadagdagan ‘yung ating bandwidth at magiging mas mabilis ‘yung ating internet," Marcos said. 

(We will have additional bandwidth and our internet will be faster.)

"Itong usapan na ito ay naging bunga nung pagpunta jo sa Singapore nung panahon nung karera. At nandoon sa-- habang naunuod kami ng karera, pinag-usapan namin ito, kaya't ngayon nabuo na, at ilalagay nila, isasama nila ang Pilipinas doon sa kanilang mahabang fiber optic na kable na galing sa California," he added. 

(This deal was the result of my trip to Singapore during the time of the race. And while we were watching the race, we discussed it, that's why now, it's finalized, and they will put, they will include the Philippines in the long fiber optic cable starting in California.) 

In October last year, Marcos said traveling to Singapore for the Formula One Grand Prix was the “best way to drum up business” for the Philippines.

Marcos was criticized then for watching the F1 race while several provinces were still struggling from the aftermath of Super Typhoon Karding.

Malacanang however said Marcos' trip to Singapore had been productive.


In April 2021, Converge disclosed that it already signed a binding term sheet with Keppel for the subsea cable system. It was announced then that the project would connect the West Coast of North America, and pass through the Philippines, Singapore, Guam, and Indonesia. 

Converge then said it would invest over $100 million for the entire project. The investment would enable Converge to "activate at will" up to 15 Tbps of capacity. The 15,000-kilometer cable may be completed by 2024. 

Malacañang said this will help the government's BroadBand ng Masa (BBM) project through the Department of Information and Communications Technology, which offers free wifi in several areas in the country. 

DICT already has 4,385 operational live sites in 73 provinces and in Metro Manila, according to the statement. 

— With reports from Jess Fenol, ABS-CBN News


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