Senator Grace Poe said the Filipino people are looking forward to the government’s promised 200 megabits per second (Mbps) internet speed for state agencies and departments with the completion of Phase 1 of the much-touted National Broadband Plan (NBP).
“We expect that by February 2022, we will actually feel the 200 Mpbs speed as committed by the government,” Poe said in her interpellation of the proposed budget of the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT).
“Like the invention of electricity over a century ago, broadband technology is the key to jobs, economic growth and better way of life as we cope with the pandemic,” she said.
Poe said the Senate would continue supporting the completion of the NBP aimed at addressing the longstanding internet connection quality in the country.
From her interpellation of Senator Ronald ‘’Bato’’ dela Rosa, plenary sponsor of the DICT’s proposed 2022 budget, it was learned that the Phase 1 of the program is expected to be rolled out in February next year. The program has three phases.
This will increase the internet speed in government offices to 200 Mbps in the National Capital Region, Region 1, Region 3 and parts of Region 2.
The current average fixed broadband download speed is 70 Mbps and 33 Mbps for mobile downloads.
“We commend the effort of the agency and I think the telcos are also ramping up the improvements they need to do, knowing that many are working from home,” Poe said.
Poe also pushed for the provision of free WiFi connections in State Universities and Colleges (SUCs) to address the connectivity needs of students and teachers.
The DICT said it has so far established 1,832 live sites in SUCs and Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) institutions, while 9,586 live sites were set up in public places.
It also has 2,989 sites in government hospitals, medical centers, rural health units, quarantine facilities and vaccination centers.
Poe is the author of Republic Act (RA) 11311, or the Better Terminals law, which requires free internet services and clean sanitary facilities for commuters on transportation terminals.
The Department of Budget and Management (DBM) approved a P6.47-billion budget for DICT for 2022. This was augmented by the Senate in its version of the appropriations bill to P9.5 billion.
“With the financial muscle from Congress, we hope the DICT will fasttrack the completion of the broadband program. A fast, reliable and affordable internet reaching unserved and underserved areas will help us cope with the pandemic. We trust that the DICT is up to the landmark task,” Poe said.