P2-B allocation for Nat’l Broadband Plan cited

Published January 4, 2021, 4:17 PM

by Ben Rosario

The National Telecommunications Commission lauded Congress for supporting the Duterte government’s proposed allocation of nearly P2 billion for the 2021 National Broadband Plan that will accelerate telecom infrastructure that will bridge the digital divide in the Philippines.

National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) (MANILA BULLETIN)
National Telecommunications Commission (NTC)

This developed as Deputy Speaker 1Pacman partylist Rep. Mikee Romero and Muntinlupa City Rep. Ruffy Biazon welcomed the huge allocation which the NTC said will strengthen collaboration between the government and the private sector in achieving faster Internet speed that requires massive capital spending.

“The administration’s initiative to hike the budget for the National Broadband Plan is a welcome development, as this will also mean connectivity to more missionary sites or areas without existing telco infrastructure. More is needed to hasten development in this sector, which once done, will spell growth for the broader economy translating to more jobs and livelihood,” NTC Commissioner Gamaliel Cordoba said in a press statement.

Romero said that with the 2021 budget for the NBP, his call for the passage of a Comprehensive National Broadband Act has gained support of government.

Romero filed House Bill 185 or the National Broadband Development Act that seeks to expand and establish Information and Communication Technology infrastructure and foster the continuity of the ICB-broadband based services in order to boost the country’s economy.

Biazon, a senior member of the House Committee on Information and Communications Technology, said the budget allocation will strengthen the country’s bid to be “at par with the telecoms and broadband capabilities of our neighboring countries in the region.”

“It is foreseen that in the post-pandemic period, reliance on connectivity and online transactions/communications will continue to grow and become the mainstream method to be used in business, finance, education and health, and everyday communication,” he said.

The NTC agreed with Biazon’s comment, noting that having a solid telecom infrastructure is crucial to progress especially as the pandemic made online communications and correspondence the new norm, the country’s telco regulator said.

The NTC is elated over the government’s financial support, saying that this is “an impetus to rally the Philippines into one of Asia’s bright economies.”

Under the administration of President Duterte, the  National Broadband Plan was set in motion via funding support.

The National Broadband Plan will require P18 billion to fully implement the digital nation blueprint.

 Cordoba had previously noted that countries that are leading in ICT programs in Asia are those whose governments are willing to spend tremendously to improve their infrastructure network.

Thailand for instance earmarked $343 million to upgrade its broadband connections and $143 million more to build additional submarine cable lines. All these with the aim of making it “ASEAN’s Internet connectivity hub.”

Taiwan will spend $2.4 billion to upgrade its digital infrastructure while Vietnam has allotted $820 million to build more submarine cables.

Singapore, Japan, and South Korea have also prioritized investments in their digital and public Internet backbone.

In Europe, Germany is set to roll out $116 billion for a “gigabit Internet service” across the continent’s largest economy.

The United Kingdom will shell out $962 million to support next generation innovations.