The Department of Information and Communications Technology proposed a P13.49-billion allocation in 2021 to implement the national broadband program next year.
The amount is much higher than the P296.46-million budget allocation of NBP for 2020.
“The P13.4 billion earmarked for the NBP in 2021 envisions increased public reach of connectivity services by developing and enhancing our digital infrastructures,” DICT Secretary Gregorio Honasan II said.
“The establishment of a national fiber optic backbone is a very pressing matter, not just in light of the public health emergency, but for the sake of national competitiveness. We are putting in place these strategies to reinvigorate the country’s participation in the global digital economy to achieve our vision of a Digital Philippines,” he said.
The DICT is seeking a 2021 budget of P46.64 billion to fund five key strategic programs to propel government digital transformation as the nation transitions to the new normal. These programs include digital connectivity and access, digital government, digital education and digital workforce, digital cities and provinces and cybersecurity.
The NBP is the national government’s initiative in building and enhancing existing ICT broadband infrastructure to make Internet connectivity pervasive, accessible and more affordable for the public.
It is structured into six components, including the national fiber optic cable backbone, cable landing stations, accelerated tower build, accelerated fiber build, satellite overlay and broadband delivery management service.
Among these components, the national FOC backbone successfully tested 158 dark fiber segments of the National Grid Corporation of the Philippines.
The backbone aims to cover the entire Philippine territory to reach unserved and underserved areas by targeting the installation of a 2,295 km FOC in 2021.
The DICT, together with the Bases Conversion Development Authority, also completed the construction of the cable landing stations in Baler, Aurora and Poro Point, La Union, pursuant to the second component.
The construction of the 240-km fiber highway is also underway and is expected to improve access to 2Tbps capacity by 2021. Component 2 will cover the operations and maintenance of the two cable landing stations and four repeater stations.
The DICT also issued the policy guidelines on the co-location and sharing of passive telecommunication tower infrastructure for macro cell sites on June 08 to fast-track the rollout of common towers.
The policy aims to accelerate telecommunications infrastructure rollout in the private sector to provide remote areas with affordable and fast Internet connectivity.