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Electric cooperatives to bring internet to remote Philippine areas

Electric cooperatives that operate using electronic remote systems have been tapped to bring internet services to interior provinces and towns.

The province of Benguet will be the first to experience this as the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) signed a Memorandum of Agreement (MoA) with the Benguet Electric Cooperative Inc. (Beneco).

According to a recent report, the MoA will enforce the National Broadband Plan to bring social services to remote areas through the internet.

The Department will utilise the company’s fibre optic network as digital transmission lines since it has over 200 kilometres of fibre optic cable lines.

This company can remotely access, control and manage its electricity distribution stations in 13 Benguet towns because of this.

Moreover, the company is also preparing to read meters remotely through the fibre optic system.

By using the existing infrastructure, the Department as well as other agencies can connect digitally with local governments and open programs for communities.

This is good news as these communities are difficult to reach because of terrain, such as in the Cordillera.

Earlier, the National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP) and the National Transmission Corporation (TransCo) loaned their underutilised or unused fibre optic cable networks to the Department so that it can implement the broadband plan.

The idea to use company’s systems came from the Department of Energy Secretary and a former University of the Philippines Electrical Engineering Professor.

This project would initially link 13 government agencies in Baguio and La Trinidad, which is Benguet’s capital town, and public hospitals, public schools, the regional police and vital installations such as the weather monitoring station at Mount Santo Tomas.

The weather station has been transmitting data much faster to allow disaster management teams to plan for potential storms.

The company is now able to access 1,000 megabits per second (Mbps) downloading and uploading speed, which was granted by the Department.

After this, the Government is prepared to partner with 29 other power utilities that have fibre optic networks.

Eventually, all 121 electric cooperatives would be instrumental to bringing the internet to the farthest areas in the countryside.

Establishing a digital network comes alongside other features of the e-governance, such as the implementation of the National ID System that is set to start this year.

The Government, in addition, will help improve consumer confidence in digital payment mechanisms.

Using electric cooperatives to bring the internet to outlying provinces was linked to the notion that electricity was one of the most important human rights.

One of the early United Nations (UN) declarations include having access to electricity is a human right because it improves the quality of life and is the development backbone for all countries.

As such, the company and other electric cooperatives will now ensure that everybody will have an access to the internet.

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