Lapid pushes broadband internet connection nationwide

Published June 19, 2020, 12:00 AM

by manilabulletin_admin

By Mario Casayuran

Senator Manuel “Lito” M. Lapid has sought the establishment of broadband internet connection in all unserved and underserved cities, municipalities and barangays in the archipelago.

Lapid has filed Senate Bill (SB)1598, known as “Last Mile Broadband Internet Connection Act,” after recognizing the vital role the internet is playing in the modern world, especially in terms of information and communication.

Senator Manuel “Lito” Lapid (Senate of the Philippines / MANILA BULLETIN)
Senator Manuel “Lito” Lapid
(Senate of the Philippines / MANILA BULLETIN)

He said he believes that all aspects of our social and economic life are now being continually and consistently being shaped by the internet and its associated technologies.

“Telehealth, online education, digital commerce and trading, financial technology or “fintech” – these are just some of the new and innovative ways of doing things brought about by this digital transformation phenomenon,’’ Lapid explained.

Lapid, however, sees that the current coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic highlighted the existing digital divide, with reports that students are deferring returning to school because of lack of internet access and technology at home.

This, among other financial hardships, is the reason why Lapid said he wants all areas in the country to be covered by internet connection.

“Sa kasamaang palad, marami sa ating mga kababayan ang hindi makasabay sa pagtungo natin sa digital age. Problema pa rin ng marami sa atin ang mabilis na internet connection at para sa mga mahihirap nating kapatid, ang pagkakaroon ng internet ay isang bagay na hindi kasama sa kanilang prayoridad lalo sa maliit nilang kinikita. Problema din ang kuneksyon sa internet sa malalayong lugar o isolated areas. Kaya gusto nating tugunan ang problemang ito sa pamamagitan ng pagsulong na makapagtayo ng pasilidad para sa broadband internet connection sa mga lugar na pinaka-kailangan ito,” Lapid said. (It is unfortunate that many of our countrymen could not keep in step on our march to the digital age. Slow internet speed is making the transition to digital age difficult. Because of financial difficulties, internet connection is not their priority. That is why we want to provide broadband internet connection in unserved and underserved areas in the country.)

SB 1598 states that for every mobile phone number subscription, telecommunication companies are mandated to set up and establish a facility for broadband internet connection in an unserved and underserved city, municipality or barangay.

The National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) will be tasked to conduct a study to determine these unserved and underserved areas in the county, which are in great need of internet connection.

The NTC shall use factors and parameters deemed relevant in identifying such areas. It will also be the one to report and monitor the compliance to this program.

Once the bill is signed into law, no community should be left behind on internet connectivity, Lapid said.