The Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) has expressed commitment to improve the speed, access and affordability of internet as it welcomes the possible entry of a third major player in the local telecommunications industry.
A major achievement for the department this year is its agreement with the Bases Conversion Development Authority (BCDA) and Facebook to build a broadband infrastructure that would help improve internet speed and accessibility in the country.
The Luzon Bypass Infrastructure will provide a bypass route for international submarine cable systems from the Luzon Strait, which is prone to multiple simultaneous submarine cable breaks.
A submarine cable system that will land in the cable stations and provide direct connections from Luzon to internet hubs in the United States and Asia will be constructed and operated.
Facebook, which will utilize the broadband infrastructure, will provide frequency spectrums equivalent to at least 2 million megabytes per second (Mbps), expanding the capacity available for the government’s information and communications technology (ICT) projects, such as the National Broadband Plan, National Government Portal and the Free Public WiFi program.
“These 2 terabits per second is almost equal to the current combined capacity of Smart and Globe. We will now have the capability to become the third telco player in the country,” DICT officer in charge, Undersecretary Eliseo Rio, Jr., said in his address during the signing of the High-Speed Internet Infrastructure Landing Party Agreement last November.
DICT will operate the bypass infrastructure, maintain the related facilities, and provide last-mile connectivity in the country.
The department will also provide opportunities for minor telco providers to operate the broadband infrastructure on behalf of the government.
For its part, BCDA will build two cable landing stations in Baler, Aurora and Poro Point in San Fernando, La Union connected by a 250-km. cable network corridor.
The construction of the cable landing stations and other facilities is estimated to cost the BCDA more than PHP900 million, poised to be funded through the 2018 national budget.
The Luzon Bypass Infrastructure will operate for 25 years from 2019 to 2044 and may be renewed 25 years thereafter.