Romualdez: P1.5 billion broadband project allocation will speed up Philippine internet

Funding for the national broadband plan of 1.5 billion pesos under the proposed 5.26 trillion pesos budget for 2023 should boost Philippine internet connection speeds over the next year, Leyte spokesman Martin Romualdez said on Monday.

Romualdez was referring to the 1.5 billion pesetas of the 77 billion pesetas allocation that the House of Representatives refocused on education, health, transportation and other essential social services, among other budget increases.

“The internet is a critical social service today as it is deeply embedded in our lives. We use the Internet for educational purposes, to provide and receive social services, and for our business. I expect the country’s internet speeds to increase by a notch next year once the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) implements its national broadband plan, which has been allocated 1.5 billion pesos in the proposed 2023 state budget,” Romualdez said .

Zaldy Co. of Ako Bicol, chairman of the budget appropriations panel, agreed, noting that funding for the P1.5 billion national broadband project will also enable connections to remote parts of the country.

“This allocation will go a long way towards launching the program and once DICT has rolled out the national broadband infrastructure, we can now use the bandwidth provided by Facebook,” Co added.

He was referring to the earlier agreement between DICT, Facebook and the Bases Conversion and Development Authority (BCDA), in which Facebook agreed to provide the Philippine government with spectrum equivalent to at least two million megabits per second (Mbps) once the Internet infrastructure is available has been set up.

Albay-based House Ways and Means board chair Joey Salceda had urged the Marcos administration to go ahead with the National Broadband Network (NBN) project, an initiative with Chinese company ZTE that was shelved during President Gloria Arroyo’s tenure.

Salceda said the NBN project will be the Maharlika Highway of the digital age.

“The bridge that will carry our workers and businesses from one end of this changing landscape to the other is education and innovation. We need to educate workers. We need to innovate companies,” said Salceda.

“To that end, I have campaigned for the reactivation of the National Broadband Network project. If we had followed it up in 2006 it would have been so much cheaper and we could have been ahead of the curve. The deferral was a political mistake. It would be foolish to continue paying for this mistake by delaying this important infrastructure project,” added Salceda. — DVM, GMA Integrated Messages