BUHAY Party-List Rep. Joselito Atienza said on Sunday telecommunications firms must help pay for President Rodrigo Duterte’s national broadband network project that would improve public access to high-speed Internet services in areas with inadequate connectivity.
“The President, who can be very forceful, should consider simply telling telecommunications service providers to put up a counterpart fund that would help pay for project. And they might just readily comply without complaining,” he said.
“After all, these telecommunications companies have been raking in billions of pesos in profits every year from the use of our airwaves that are wholly owned by the State.”
He said the government must not foot the bill for such project.
“Besides, why should government alone shoulder the full cost of a project that is meant to extend a service that these telecoms firms should be providing to begin with?”
“We are absolutely supportive of the President’s goal to deliver superior Internet services to the countryside. The lack of access to broadband is a roadblock to faster social and economic development.”
He lamented the inaccessibility of the Internet services to thousands of public schools.
“Our schoolchildren in the provinces are being deprived of the benefits of Internet access that their counterparts in highly urbanized areas are enjoying fully,” he said.
Last March, the President directed the rollout of a national broadband network that could cost up to P200 billion, the Department of Information and Communications Technology said.