Aboitiz InfraCapital

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Aboitiz InfraCapital - Data and connectivity for a digital future

Today, many of the Philippines’ growth and development opportunities lie in the global digital economy. High-speed data and connectivity solutions are more affordable than ever, and they are more deeply embedded into the fabric of everyday life.

Homegrown industries like the finance, retail, manufacturing, and business process outsourcing (BPO) sectors have all become more data-driven and have expanded their operations to include various digital activities and services. Filipino professionals and enterprises have also been able to build stronger linkages to the global economy, thanks to more ubiquitous digital connectivity, which is also becoming more reliable like never before. In addition, consistent data access and strong internet connections have benefitted personal relationships, made education more accessible, and brought much-needed innovation into the delivery of critical public services.

Knowing the value of data and connectivity for the country’s digital future, Aboitiz InfraCapital (AIC) has made digital infrastructure development one of its priority endeavors. It works with the government, telecommunications providers, and with many other stakeholders to strengthen the communication and information technology capabilities of local communities, especially those in the country’s underserved regions. Through the deployment of more common towers and construction of small cell sites, AIC  strives to improve mobile network service reliability, decrease communications costs, boost connectivity, and bridge the digital divide in the Philippines.

With the country poised to become one of the global hotspots of the next wave of digital infrastructure investments in the next few years, Aboitiz InfraCapital also had the prescience to diversify into the data center business. This foray into this new vertical is seen by observers as a significant step toward addressing the Philippines’ rising demand for data services in the years to come.

Our Projects and Investments

Unity Digital Infrastructure

Unity Digital Infrastructure

Location: Philippines

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Small Cell Sites

Small Cell Sites

Location: Philippines

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Data Centers

Data Centers

Location: Philippines

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Aboitiz InfraCapital Digital Infrastructure – FAQs

What is digital infrastructure?

The term “digital infrastructure” encompasses infrastructure projects that are meant to bolster the use of data, computer and telecommunications devices and services, and various digital processes and systems. In the context of infrastructure development, building digital infrastructure involves developing the physical resources needed to support digital and data-driven activities. The components of this digital infrastructure ecosystem can include a wide array of communication assets, including wireless, satellite, fiber, cable, digital subscriber line, and broadband-over-powerline networks. It can also include supporting assets such as data centers or networked computer servers, which are necessary for the storage and processing of data.

What are the expectations for Philippine digital infrastructure development in the coming years?

As part of its goal to pursue universal connectivity and to improve public access to modern technologies, the Philippine government has pushed for widespread digital adoption and acceleration. The National Broadband Plan, for instance, was developed to chart the steps the country could take to accelerate the deployment of fiber optic cables and wireless assets across the country, and also to make internet connectivity faster and more affordable to the general public. In line with this, the plan outlines three strategies: 1.) to establish policy and regulatory reforms 2.) to channel more resources toward infrastructure development, and 3.) to support the stimulation of demand for modern broadband technologies.

In light of this commitment toward creating a more digitalized Philippines, there’s indeed a lot of work to be done. For internet connectivity to be more accessible and more affordable to ordinary Filipinos, investments in digital infrastructure should be increased, and public-private partnerships (PPPs) should continue in full force. While stakeholders in the private sector can help with the provision of capital and expertise that are necessary to realize digital infrastructure projects, the government sector can help by supporting projects with public sector financing, sharing risks and obligations with the public sector partners, and creating a more favorable regulatory environment for private sector stakeholders.

Why do communities need new digital infrastructure?

There are several factors that drive the need to invest in new digital infrastructure in the Philippines. On the business side, a wider and more dependable ecosystem of digital infrastructure will result in the following:

  • Improved capacity of businesses to tap into the domestic and global economies;
  • Increased efficiency and competitiveness; and
  • Better resilience against risks like economic downturns and business interruptions.

At the same time, the boost in data usage and connectivity from well-planned, well-executed digital infrastructure projects can also result in the following improvements in people’s daily lives: 

  • Better means to communicate and connect with one another;
  • More convenient channels for fulfilling key tasks like buying goods, paying for services, and settling bills and dues;
  • Better access to education and training opportunities;
  • Faster delivery of social assistance and other government services to the economically disadvantaged, the elderly, persons with disability (PWD), and others in need; and,
  • Facilitation of information dissemination, rescue efforts, and relief efforts during emergencies like typhoons, floods, and earthquakes.

Through its infrastructure arm Aboitiz InfraCapital, the Aboitiz Group initiates infrastructure projects that spur economic development within the country. Flagship initiatives that are already making an impact include the deployment of Aboitiz InfraCapital’s small cell sites and the building of common towers through Unity Digital Infrastructure, a joint venture project with the Switzerland-based Partners Group.

The latter of these, in particular, is in keeping with the Philippines’ newly established Common Tower Policy, under which the country aims to develop shared telco infrastructure in order to improve wireless network coverage and to expand information and communication technology services across the archipelago. At least one study has shown that mobile network operators (MNOs) in the country could save PHP 66 billion by way of capital and operational expenditures if infrastructure sharing under the Common Tower Policy were made the norm through the years until 2025.

Why is Aboitiz Group a trusted digital infrastructure developer?

The Aboitiz Group forms one of the Philippines’ most respected conglomerates, with business interests across the real estate, energy, heavy industry, banking, and financial services, food production, data science and artificial intelligence, and infrastructure sectors. This broad experience gives us a unique perspective into how these different industries contribute to nation building and how the confluence of activities unique to each sector can result in the creation of more opportunities for collaboration and innovation. Hence, all of our infrastructure projects—from water, economic estates, and digital infrastructure to transport and mobility—work in concert to uplift local economies and individual lives in the communities they serve. 

Another thing that sets the Aboitiz Group apart is its unique sustainability framework, which consists of the three Ps – People, Planet, and Profit. The bottom line isn’t the only thing that matters to us when it comes to digital infrastructure development. We also measure success in terms of positive impact to our partner communities and our goals of being energy-efficient, reducing our carbon footprint, and minimizing waste that results from our commercial and industrial activities.

What are the current digital infrastructure projects of Aboitiz InfraCapital?

Aboitiz InfraCapital currently manages several major projects:

Unity Digital Infrastructure

The Unity Digital Infrastructure joint venture project is Aboitiz InfraCapital and Partners Group’s response to current challenges in the industry, like the low tower-to-user ratio in the country and the data congestion experienced by mobile network operators (MNOs).

On top of helping increase tower density—the number of towers per subscriber— Unity Digital Infrastructure supports the common tower business model that’s MNO-neutral. Under this model, MNOs can co-locate to one of Unity’s planned tower sharing assets and share maintenance fees, therefore mutually reducing the cost of business operations and expanding their services within their common locality.

Though the common tower model may be fairly new to the Philippines, it is already widely implemented in other countries. Philippine government agencies like the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) and the Anti-Red Tape Authority (ARTA) have been supportive of new ventures like these, knowing that at least 50,000 new cell towers are necessary to drastically improve the country’s telco service delivery.

Small Cell Sites

Aboitiz InfraCapital has also ventured into the small cell sites business to complement the work being done by macro cell towers. Small cells, or low-power cellular sites consisting of antennas and radio equipment, enable the transmission of data from low-band to high-band spectrums.

Though smaller, less powerful, and limited in their range compared to macro cells, small cells can significantly improve data congestion in the places where they’re installed. With operational small cell networks near their residences, schools, or places of business, users will benefit from more equitably distributed bandwidth and expect stronger and more reliable access to their mobile data. They can also enjoy 5G wireless technology with peak speeds of up to 20 Gbps, which will, in turn, improve the way they experience a variety of digital services and activities

We build networks of unobtrusive radio access nodes to increase antenna density within localities and to improve data speeds. Aboitiz InfraCapital has already put up small cell networks in Batangas, Zambales, Cebu, Davao del Sur, and the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM), and has more of them planned for deployment in the near future.

Data Centers

Anticipating the exponential growth in demand for data services in the coming years, Aboitiz InfraCapital has also recently announced its partnership with EdgeConneX (ECX), a joint venture which will pave the way for the development of hyperscale data centers across the country. Based in the United States, ECX carries with it the distinction of being a pioneer in the delivery of global hyperlocal and hyperscale data center solutions. AIC and ECX are already working together to build a platform of hyperscale data centers. The first of which will be located in proximity to the National Capital Region, with plans in place to launch another hyperscale campus within the Greater Manila Area in the coming years. These massive business-critical facilities will efficiently support robust, scalable applications of cloud service providers.

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