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Tuesday, July 23, 2024

PH’s future lies in digital infrastructure

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In a world that has become reliant on digital developments, several functions of society require a stable digital infrastructure for efficiency. Among the significant sectors that find it necessary is a country’s economy. 

Globe 5G

Digital infrastructure is a competitive advantage that interconnects physical and virtual technologies to build the foundation for a company or society’s digital operations. 

In the past two years, the Philippines saw a sudden rise in its digital economy as many Filipinos found their fortune on select platforms. Others discovered a different avenue to conduct the business of daily activities. 

Besides ushering in development, a stable digital infrastructure across the country also plays a significant role in the Philippines’ economic recovery. However, to produce the desired results, it needs a well-planned collaboration between the government, private sectors, and civil society to complement its strengths. 

Nonetheless, several issues still plague the Philippines’ digital infrastructure. Common challenges include a lack of a stable and fortified connection, with some areas deprived of connection services entirely. Many telecommunications and technology companies continue to discuss the situation to provide solutions to existing connectivity problems. 

Although many players in the technology industry have resources, no single one can implement a relevant change in the country’s digital infrastructure. Many in the Philippines recognize how the appropriate partnership can provide inclusive development opportunities for Filipinos as they continue their pursuit of becoming a new power player in the global digital economy. 

Calling on local leaders

Several private companies eager to get the digital infrastructure development underway call upon the attention of local government leaders to prioritize bills that focus specifically on the issue.

For instance, the Aboitiz and Ayala groups requested that the Marcos administration consider digital infrastructures in their priority projects, coinciding with President Ferdinand Marcos Jr.’s push for universal connectivity. They also conveyed their interest in public-private partnerships on digital infrastructure if these became a part of the government’s priority list. 

PLDT office

The government has laws that address digital infrastructure in the country, namely the Build-Operate-Transfer (BOT) Law, which promotes PPP in financing digital project deliveries. Moreover, the BOT Law lists telco infrastructure as among the potential areas wherein the government and investors can collaborate. It also allows the implementation of PPPs in constructing information and communications technology networks and database facilities. 

Besides putting digital infrastructure among the priorities of the government, private companies are also encouraging them to review existing programs from the previous administration carried on to the present and include the development of digital assets. 

For instance, reports claim that Globe Telecom Inc. is calling upon the government to review its priority list under the Build, Build, Build program, while emphasizing the relevance of digital infrastructure to the country and economy.

Among their suggestions is allocating a yearly budget to ensure connectivity services reach even the underservedareas in the country. 

Globe executives suggest that the government should make the provision of the Bayanihan to Recover as One Act on telco permitting permanent. 

On the other hand, the government didn’t limit itself to working within the confines of the country. Marcos Jr. recently shared how the Philippines is keen on fostering stronger ties with the Singaporean business community. As a part of the country’s recovery, he focused on his administration’s eight-point socio-economic agenda that underscores commitment through broad-based job creation, expansion of digital infrastructure, and promotion of research and development across the country.

Despite calling on the local government to turn their attention to digital infrastructure, further ushering in the country’s shift to a digital economy, some private companies took the necessary steps to establish stable digital assets.

One example is the PLDT Group, which boosted its operations and targeted detecting areas with compromised telecommunication services. With its wireless arm, Smart Communications, the company inaugurated its integrated operations center (IOC) in Makati. 

Furthering its dedication to digital development, PLDT’s IOC has a 30-meter-wide video wall displaying various network dashboards. It enables PLDT and Smart’s network teams to immediately identify areas affected by service outages and proactively reach out to impacted customers, especially during disasters and calamities.

Benefitting from digital infrastructures 

Relevant businesses in the country encourage its venture toward a stable digital infrastructure because it supports the local economy and puts the Philippines under a global spotlight. 

Some say its development will help boost the country’s international capacity, strengthen digital trading services, improve the digital economy, and increase internet speeds and reliability for Filipinos. Simply put, every Filipino stands to gain something from a stable digital infrastructure through PPPs. 

Moreover, e-government services can improve the cloud services in various government agencies to create a sovereign community that values everyone’s privacy and safety while providing efficient services. 

A stable digital infrastructure throughout the country can also help the community adapt to new technologies, allowing leaders to create a fortified digital governance framework and a conducive environment for online works, start-ups, and enterprises. 

Intense digital developments could eventually lead to the internet, finance, healthcare, access, and affordability for everything and everyone. 

Still, even the everyday Filipino has to play a part in fostering digital infrastructure in the country so they can reap its benefits. Aside from PPPs, the academe, NGOs, and broader cyber communities need a consolidated approach to address the gaps in the Philippines’ digital ecosystem. 

While it may seem daunting, the first step lies in digital skilling. It means empowering every individual by ensuring they have the skills, knowledge, and opportunity to succeed in the digital economy and achieve inclusive prosperity. 

Filipinos also learned to adapt to a digital environment, but not without complications at first. Through their efforts to raise awareness of current connectivity issues, relevant companies in the industry, with their government counterparts, recognize the challenges they must face to foster a stable digital infrastructure in the country. 

As technology in the country and across the globe continues to develop, the Philippines’ key players are encouraging the development of a strengthened infrastructure to support Filipinos’ lifestyles and help its community improve despite numerous challenges. Through it all, the call for improvement rests on everyone’s shoulders. 


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