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The Philippines to Set Up ‘Resiliency Route’ for National Broadband Programme

Over the last few decades, the Philippines has steadily caught up with other countries in terms of providing internet access across the nation. According to one study, the country’s internet quality is among the best in the world, with the Philippines ranking 20th and having the fastest year-on-year growth in mobile and broadband speed.

The Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) will move forward with Phase 1 of the National Broadband Programme (NBP), which will boost the development of supplemental infrastructure or a “resiliency route”. According to the DICT secretary, the establishment of a resiliency route serves as insurance or a safety net against any unforeseen problems or events that could reason a delay in the project’s completion.

This endeavour is part of our efforts to future-proof the National Broadband Program to ensure continuity of the national ICT agenda. It is our goal to ensure that the strides we have made in the current administration will serve as leverage for the initiatives of our future leaders to further advance the national ICT agenda.

– DICT secretary

The Philippine government established the National Broadband Plan in order to accelerate the deployment of fibre optic cables and wireless technologies throughout the country, particularly in remote areas, and to improve overall internet speed and affordability (NBP). The National Broadband Plan (NBP), which addresses the demand for universal, faster, and more affordable Internet access, has three major broad strategies, which are:

  • establishment of policy and regulatory reforms
  • government investment in broadband infostructure
  • support for the stimulation of broadband demand.

The resiliency route, which connects to Singapore, offers an alternate route in Asia. In addition, serves as a backup or redundancy connection for the NBP in the event of any disruptions withinside the Pacific Light Cable Network (PLCN), which is currently connected to the NBP’s cable landing station in Baler, Aurora, and Los Angeles, California. The Luzon Bypass Infrastructure (LBI), which is linked to the programme’s cable landing stations, provides the international connection for the national fibre backbone under the NBP.

The NBP Phase 1 project, which is expected to be finished by the end of the year, entails activating 28 nodes of the national fibre backbone located in 12 provinces throughout Luzon. Meanwhile, the final phase is scheduled to be finished in 2025. Despite limited funding to expedite the programme’s completion, this is the case. The NBP received around P1.9 billion in funding for 2021, which is far less than DICT’s target budget of P18 billion to complete the NBP in 2 to 3 years.

The resiliency path is expected to initially support and benefit the country’s metropolitan centres for commercial, financial, and administrative activities. Metro Manila, Metro Cebu, and Metro Davao are among them.

Furthermore, NBP intends to establish a government-owned broadband community to offer Filipinos faster, more extensive, and more low-cost Internet access. In early 2021, the DICT collaborated with the Bases Conversion and Development Authority (BCDA) to procure the National Fibre Backbone Phase 1 Project.

OpenGov Asia in an article stated that the new Department Order No. 29, also known as the “DPWH Policy on Telecommunications and Internet Infrastructure according to Republic Act (RA) No. 11494,” relaxes previous right-of-way prohibitions, particularly on the construction of posts, by allowing excavations and restoration work for ICT infrastructure projects along with allowable right-of-way limits of national roads and highways. With the removal of such a major bottleneck, the company anticipates that site inspection and approval will be completed in a matter of days, rather than several weeks or even months in the past. Also asserted that this will make it faster for the company to bring high-speed broadband services to more homes and businesses through Fibre-to-the-Homes (FTTH) this year.

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