Philippines's seen to spend more for broadband networkSunday, February 26, 2017 12:12 AM Views : 160Lorenz S. Marasigan
THE government will likely adopt the second option in building a national broadband backbone, which entails the construction of infrastructure in the countryside with a higher price tag.
Information Secretary Rodolfo A. Salalima said the Department of Information and Communications Technology has forwarded the blueprint for the plan to President Duterte, and expects to get a reply from him soon.
Salalima said the plan submitted to the President is the second option, which will require the government to invest as much as P200 billion to build broadband infrastructure in the countryside.
The government earlier identified three options to go with the national broadband backbone.
The first option will cost the government P20 billion to P30 billion. The second option is where the government spends around P80 billion to P100 billion. Third option is to build a separate network directly competing with the private sector.
"We have existing infrastructure in the cities, so there is no need for us to duplicate that," he said. "The second option is for government and countryside use, so hopefully he can approve it."
The National Broadband Plan will analyze existing and planned government and private-sector deployment, and address supply-and-demand gaps by recommending policy and nonpolicy related actions. The plan will also provide detailed physical targets and strategies to effect nationwide broadband deployment and widespread use.
"We have submitted to President Duterte the blueprint with some details about a week or two ago," he said. "We are asking him to approve the plan, so we can add more flesh to it."
After crafting the plan, the government will pursue the construction of a National Broadband Network, which will include a mixture of several Internet connectivity, technologies, such as fixed line and mobile data, among others.
The creation of such a network started during the time of then-President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, but was shelved due to corruption issues.
The Philippines is one of the few countries in the region wherein the government has yet to fully engage in investing in telco infrastructure.
Neighboring countries in the Asean have already started to implement national broadband plans, earmarking billions of dollars to develop a government-owned backbone for the information superhighway.
In Thailand, for example, the government has invested $114 million to improve the Internet service or availability. The fund is part of Bangkok's economic policy.
The Vietnamese government, on the other hand, owns two of the three largest telecommunications companies in Ho Chi Minh City.
Malaysia has now spent a total of $4.5 billion over a 10-year period to lay fiber-optic lines to every home in the country's urban area. Other developing and developed economies are investing billions of dollars to improve Internet access in their countries. "We can finish it in three to five years," Salalima said. "We can complete it within the term of the President."