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Thursday, May 23, 2024

Drive up digital infrastructure investments

“Microsoft Philippines CEO Peter Maquera believes that digital skilling can bend the curve for faster growth and greater prosperity like Korea, Singapore, Malaysia, and Thailand, Indonesia and Vietnam”

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The development of the country’s digital infrastructure will determine the velocity of economic recovery and is a major factor in our competitiveness in the technology driven global ecosystem.

24/7 Connectivity to cloud based digital technologies is a daily necessity and has become a critical utility at the level of water and electricity.

In the latest business roundtable last week by think tank Stratbase ADR Institute, in partnership with CitizenWatch Philippines, expert shared insights from the leading global and national digital innovators on the challenges and solutions to “Promoting Broad-band Prosperity Through Digital Infrastructure” towards a vision of a digitally empowered people thriving in an inclusive digital powered ecosystem.

Stratbase ADRi president Victor Andres “Dindo” Manhit emphasized the development of a nationwide digital infrastructure as the prerequisite for growth and access to emerging digital technologies and innovations to strengthen industries that will provide well-paying jobs and create livelihood opportunities.

He highlighted the role of the private sector as a prime mover not only in innovation and the delivery of goods and services, but also in creating value in the lives of its stakeholders.

Globe Telecom’s Manager and Head of Network Technology Innovations, Engr. Derick Dimla, said that for the Ayala group, enabling a tech-driven development in the digital age goes beyond providing connectivity.

“It is actually engaging partnership, building and development ecosystems, and purpose-driven inclusive innovation.”

He spoke about a “purpose-driven innovation” as key to unlocking and exploiting the true value of connectivity while highlighting the importance of online safety, cyber security, and data privacy amidst the prevailing risks of the internet.

PLDT First Vice President for Enterprise Digital Solutions and ePLDT Chief Commercial Officer, John R. Gonzales emphasized the need for world-class digital infrastructure to keep pace with global standards and how the company has invested in 17 international submarine and terrestrial cable networks that will triple capacity to supply the rapid growth for digital services.

He featured PLDT’s “Internet of Possibilities” platform that will deliver solutions that transform business processes with more digitally enabled capabilities and expressed the company’s readiness to support e-governance services, cybersecurity capabilities, and the government’s agriculture agenda with smart farming solutions.

Aboitiz InfraCapital President and CEO Ms. Cosette V. Canilao stressed on the need to nurture our digital ecosystem by ramping up the country’s passive digital infrastructure, strengthening digital governance, and enabling the local digital economy.

Among her recommendations is to create a conducive environment for online gig workers, emerging technologies, and various players like start-up firms and other small and medium enterprises to be enabled to thrive and compete in a digital economy.

Recognizing readiness gaps, she advocates a coordinated approach with the public and private sectors, academe, NGOs, and the wider cyber community.

Microsoft Philippines CEO Peter Maquera believes that digital skilling can bend the curve for faster growth and greater prosperity like Korea, Singapore, Malaysia, and Thailand, Indonesia and Vietnam.

He said, “Empowering every person is ensuring that everyone has the skills, the knowledge, and the opportunity to succeed in the digital economy. We call this inclusive prosperity.”

Microsoft’s partnership with the Department of Education has trained 27 million Filipino students and one million teachers. Its free courseware has enabled 50,000 institutions.

“Let us continue to drive digital intensity. We’re starting to see this all around us. This means Internet for all, finance for all, healthcare for all, and access and affordability for everything and for everyone,” Maquera said.

Meta (Facebook) Head of Connectivity and Access Policy, Dr. S. Ismail Shah said that there has been a 71 percent increase in the use of social media platforms since COVID-19, and 95 percent of these users using Facebook reported to have built a business and attracted new customers significantly contributing to the digital economy. However, he points out that the biggest challenges that were reported is internet access and data availability.

A big investment of Meta is the Pacific Light Cable Network (PLCN) submarine cable passing through Luzon which will provide international connection and boost capacity of the National Broadband Program.

“Now, there is an opportunity for the Philippines. It is located very strategically, especially from the subsea cable point-of-view. There is an urgent need to act quickly to capitalize on this opportunity and enhance the bandwidth and the determination of cables in the Philippines,” Dr Shah said.

The strong message from the technology thought leaders of this round table discussion is clear.

Our potential to excel in a global digital economy will need a synergized investment strategy of government and the private sector to build up a future proof and robust nationwide digital infrastructure that if prioritized and when realized, will enable our people to prosper in a global digital society.

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