[Sponsored Article] The Philippines’ largest fully integrated telecommunications company PLDT (PSE:TEL ; NYSE:PHI) is set on driving the country’s status as the strategic Asian destination for global hyperscalers and content providers. This is on the back of a robust ICT infrastructure in place serving over 74 million local internet users, and extensive peering solutions in the local telco industry through the Philippine Internet Exchange (PHIX) and the VITRO Internet Exchange (VIX). Through the PHIX and VIX, the PLDT Group provides hyperscalers, Content Delivery Networks (CDN), Over-the-Top providers (OTTs), and content providers access to the second largest “eyeballs” in Southeast Asia with a predominantly tech-savvy population of 109 million having a median age of 25.8 years old, one of the youngest in the region according to We Are Social’s Digital 2020 published report. PLDT Vice President and Head of Fixed Core Business Solutions for Enterprise Gary Ignacio stressed that other than having extensive international cable systems landing in the country and data center space – which are PLDT’s core assets – a sizeable internet base makes for an attractive proposition to those who are considering to expand their market in the Philippines. “The Philippines presents huge potential as an expansion market for cloud service providers and content providers, with a large digital-savvy consumer base who has the propensity to consume content and digital services. With PLDT, hyperscalers, OTTs, and CPs alike will be able to gain direct access to the eyeballs that are aggregated conveniently through our premier internet exchanges—giving them the largest reach in the PH market and ensuring the best possible service delivery and user experience," Ignacio said. The nation also has one of the highest mobile penetration rates in the region at 138%. The Philippines has 74M internet users with netizens spending 10.5 hours online marking it as the longest time spent across the world. The Philippines has also been dubbed as the social media capital of the world when it comes to hours spent in social media, while it ranks 6th in the list of countries with the most Facebook users. E-commerce sales grew by USD3.6B in 2020 at a phenomenal growth rate of 43%, with projections spiraling to USD12B in 2025. PHIX is a PLDT-managed, domestic internet exchange point facility that serves as the point of interconnection between internet service providers, content providers, and CDNs, with access to PLDT and Smart subcribers. Through the PLDT and Smart fixed and wireless networks, the PLDT Group already serves an aggregated 78.2 million subscribers as of the first quarter of 2021. On the other hand, VIX, managed by ePLDT, allows access to local and cached content, and content from other local ISP and CDNs hosted in the leading data center network in the country, with 10 VITRO Data Center facilities strategically built across the country serving colocation, cybersecurity, and other business continuity services of various business sectors. Both exchanges add value to the seamless internet-user experience of subscribers among its participants and members. "We at PLDT have consistently been ramping up our investments in expanding our network infrastructure to continue serving the growing digital needs of local and international businesses alike. As we see Philippines as the next ideal destination for cloud and content providers, we see to it that we continuously strengthen our capabilities to ensure that we are ready to support their hyperscale data center and connectivity requirements,” said Jovy Hernandez, ePLDT President & CEO and SVP & Head for PLDT and Smart Enterprise Business Groups. Currently, PLDT has the most extensive fiber footprint among local providers at 511,000 kilometers of fiber coursing through the archipelago boosted by its participation in 15 international cable systems landing in the country. PLDT has been relentlessly expanding its fiber network in and out of the country. In addition to Php 460 billion invested from 2011 to 2020, PLDT is eyeing additional capex spend of Php 88 to 92 billion in 2021, aiding the country’s efforts in nation-building through digital services and technology.