PLDT Shelves Broadband Over Powerlines Project

The Philippine Long Distance Co. (PLDT) has shelved plans to roll out a broadband network over the Metro Manila power grid after three years of exploring this option through power distribution Meralco, citing technical difficulties.

PLDT has shelved its broadband over powerlines (BPL) project being developed with Meralco in Metro Manila, citing technical difficulties. (Photo Credit: ShutterStock)

The Broadband over Power Lines (BPL) project aimed to deliver broadband services directly to Meralco‘s 4.5 million customers through power lines. Said project supposedly benefits from the cost savings in laying out a broadband infrastructure, given that a BPL network can course data through an existing power grid. PLDT has been working with Meralco since acquiring a 20% stake in the distribution company in 2009, although the company has decided to forego the project due to technical difficulties, reports Malaya.

PLDT president Napoleon Nazareno said that “it is not technically feasible to roll out the new technology in the country.” He said that it is “not optimal and efficient to use broadband over power lines in the present circumstances in the way the broadband and power are being consumed.”

PLDT and Meralco had been testing the project in certain parts of Metro Manila — particularly Malabon and Makati — to determine viability over different weather conditions, roads and structures.

Even with its shelving of the broadband over power lines project, the PLDT Group still has other broadband businesses that cater to various enterprise and consumer markets. The group has over 65 million mobile subscribers through its telecommnuications company Smart Communications, and subsidiaries Digitel (which runs Sun Cellular) and CURE (which runs the Red Mobile brand). Smart and PLDT have invested PhP 67.1 billion (US$ 1.56 billion) to upgrade its network, which includes improved voice communication, faster SMS deliver, and enhanced mobile data speeds. PLDT likewise runs a DSL network, while Smart offers wireless broadband services through 3G and WiMax.