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DICT takes the veil off Philippines' national broadband plan

Adrian M. Reodique | June 23, 2017
The department will be conducting a feasibility study in order to flesh out details of the plan, shares Undersecretary Denis Villorente.

Signal tower and networks

Credit: DICT National Broadband Plan document.

The Philippines' Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) today (23 June 2017) formally unveiled the National Broadband Plan (NBP). 

The NBP is one of the projects mandated by President Rodrigo Duterte during his first SONA in 2016. It will serve as a blueprint in deploying fibre optic cables and wireless technologies across the Philippines. 

The DICT will conduct a feasibility study "to flesh out the details of the plan, specifically from the network", said DICT's Undersecretary Denis Villorente at the launch. The study is expected to be completed before the year ends. 

In line with that, Villorente said the DICT is forming implementation task forces. One of them will look at "the regulatory and policy reforms, [while the other will] focus on completing projects that are funded or supported by the government, [especially those involving] putting up more broadband infrastructure." 

Meanwhile, DICT Secretary Rodolfo Salalima stated during his keynote speech that the National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP) has allowed the use of their existing fibre optic cables. 

In an exclusive interview with Computerworld Philippines in January, Salalima said that using NGCP's network facilities will allow them to facilitate and reduce the cost of the project. He said without existing cables or components, the plan would likely to cost P77 billion to P200 billion. 

However, Villorente said at the NBP launch that the DICT will only be able to determine the final total budget needed to execute the plan after completing the feasibility study.

Additionally, the department aims to connect all local government units (LGUs) across the country to its broadband infrastructure within the term of President Duterte until 2022. It will also work to provide every household with 10 mbps internet connection that will only cost less than 5 percent of their monthly income, based on the broadband affordability target set by Broadband Commission for Digital Development in 2015. 

Villorente also shared that the NBP is expected to be fully rolled out by 2019 or 2020.

Besides the NBP, the DICT today launched the National Government Portal (NGP), a one-stop for all government services and information, and reintroduced its Free Wi-Fi Internet Access in Public Places (FWPP) project or Pipol Konek. The latter aims to provide internet service to over 13,000 public places across 145 cities and 1,489 municipalities in the country.

 

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