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Congress must address the costly lease fee for broadband link setup, says Stratbase president

A public policy think tank leader has urged all government pillars to work as one in addressing the challenges that impede the ease of setting up broadband connectivity in the country.

It also urged lawmakers to deal with what he described as expensive lease payments being charged to internet providers for the installation of broadband connectivity.

Stratbase ADR Institute president Prof. Victor Andres Manhit said in a Facebook post that since the present administration has consistently emphasized its goal of achieving digital transformation for the entire country, it must ensure that all branches of government work together “to establish an environment conducive to inclusive connectivity.”

He stressed that the legislative branch has a critical role to play in the speedy passage of a bill to amend the 47-year-old National Building Code of the Philippines.

Stratbase explained on Facebook that when the NBCP was passed into law in 1977, the internet was still an eight-year-old novelty while the world was still running in manual-paper based operations and had considered only water and electricity as utilities essential to residential or commercial properties.

Manhit said “much has changed since then and broadband internet connectivity has emerged as one of the most basic needs in today’s world.”

He argued that property development, both in the public and private sectors, should provide the internet service providers an access to adequate space to install the necessary fiber optic cables and equipment that would deliver the services to tenants and occupants.

“Congress must then address the imposition of expensive lease payments for the installation of broadband connectivity,” Manhit said. “This will free up the resources that can be spent in the improvement and expansion of broadband services.”

He added that serious gov’t efforts to expedite the installation of broadband connectivity for both public and private users will also send a clear message that the government is determined to transform the country into a globally competitive digital economy.


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