Rollout of national broadband in missionary sites fasttracked

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    The National Telecommunication Commission (NTC) will fast track rollout of the national broadband to more missionary sites or areas without existing telco infrastructure this year.

    Under the administration of President Rodrigo Duterte, the country’s National Broadband Plan (NBP) was set in motion through the nearly P2-billion budget for the 2021.

    NBP aims to accelerate telecom builds, seen to bridge the digital divide in the Philippines.

    “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,” Gamaliel Cordoba NTC Commissioner said in a statement.

    The approved budget for NBP this year is higher than P296.5 million budget in 2020, but its significantly lower than Department of Information and Communication (DICT) proposed budget of P13.4 billion.

    With this, NTC said collaboration between the government and the private sector is key in achieving faster internet speed which requires massive capital spending.

    The NBP project will require P18-billion to fully implement the ‘digital nation’ blueprint according to NTC.

    Cordoba had said that government from other countries are spending huge budget to improve the telecom services.

    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 for its part 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 meanwhile will shell out $962-million to support next generation innovations.