ADB, iSON ink deal to boost Philippines' digital connectivity-Xinhua

ADB, iSON ink deal to boost Philippines' digital connectivity

Source: Xinhua

Editor: huaxia

2024-03-04 19:33:30

MANILA, March 4 (Xinhua) -- The Asian Development Bank (ADB) said Monday that it has signed a 2.4 billion pesos (42.85 million U.S. dollars) loan with the telecom towers building and managing company iSON Tower Limited Inc. as part of a ADB-led co-financing package to enhance digital connectivity in the Philippines.

The loan will support the construction, development, and operation of 800 shared telecommunication towers in the Philippines to help expand digital connectivity for underserved communities, the bank said in a press release.

The country's two dominant telecommunication service providers, Globe Telecom, Inc., and Smart Communications, Inc., both have master lease agreements with iSON, which leases the land, builds the infrastructure, and handles the towers' management, security, and maintenance, the ADB said.

"Expanding and enhancing telecommunications infrastructure is vital to bridge the digital divide, empower communities, and foster economic growth and development in the Philippines," said ADB Director General for Private Sector Operations Suzanne Gaboury.

"Shared infrastructure services, like those provided by iSON Tower, will give underserved communities better access to communication, as well as to work in the digital economy, e-health services, access online education, e-government services, and to prepare for disasters," Gaboury said.

Smartphone usage in the Philippines is among the most widespread in Southeast Asia, but the country has limited tower coverage, with only 240 towers per million population, the ADB said.