Philippines gives green light to national broadband plan

The government of the Philippines has approved a project to create a national broadband network.

Signed off by President Rodrigo Duterte, the network will largely be dedicated to hosting a government portal, which will provide a central hub through which users can access services.

Duterte has spoken of the need to speed up the rollout of fibre-optic cables and wireless technologies in order to expand internet access, particularly in rural regions which currently have limited coverage.

While details of the National Broadband Plan (NBP) have not yet been established, the network is projected to cost between PHP70 billion to PHP200 billion ($1.4 billion to $4 billion). However, Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) Secretary Rodolfo Salalima has indicated that the final cost will likely end up being at the lower end of this scale.

Last year, DICT held an initial public consultation on the NBP and is now inviting feedback on the draft it has published. Once the details have been locked down, DICT will begin costing the network and establishing how to fund it.

A 2007 plan to build a national broadband network in the Philippines was conceived by the Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo administration, but ultimately sunk when it was derailed by corruption claims.

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