DICT chief blasts NGCP over delay claim in national broadband plan

The officer-in-charge of the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) took exception to the claim of the National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP) that the ICT agency is delaying the rollout of a vital broadband project of the national government.

DICT undersecretary and officer-in-charge Eliseo Rio Jr.

DICT undersecretary and OIC Eliseo Rio Jr. made a scathing reply to the NGCP’s insinuation in its open letter to Pres. Rodrigo Duterte that the DICT is dragging its feet in signing a partnership for the free use of NGCP’s dark Fiber Optic Cable (FOC).

In a comment made in a Facebook post at the Newsbytes.PH fan page, Rio pointed out that NGCP’s refusal to sign a tripartite agreement with the DICT and Transco is the reason why the project has not been able to proceed.

The FOC, which is owned by government firm Transco, is now operated by the NGCP through a 25-year concession agreement that started in 2009.

The NGCP, which is a private company currently chaired by a Chinese national, took over the management of country’s power lines when Transco was privatized during the time of former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.

Rio noted that the contract between NGCP and Transco will end in around 15 years, with the national grid facilities going back to the full control of Transco by then.

“If we sign only a bilateral agreement with NGCP now, what will happen to our roll-out program which would have cost billions of pesos by the time Transco has full control, if they have no tacit approval of our bilateral agreement with NGCP now?” Rio asked.

Because the National Broadband Plan is expected to outlive NGCP’s contract with Transco, Rio said the DICT wants to protect its investments by forging an tripartite agreement with NGCP and Transco.

Rio said that while Transco is open to this proposal, NGCP is surprisingly against the inclusion of Transco in the agreement.

“Yet NGCP cannot guarantee that whatever we install in their facilities now will not be removed or modified by Transco when they take full control,” the DICT official said.

DICT officer-in-charge Eliseo Rio Jr. has criticized this open letter of NGCP to President Duterte

Rio said the problem lies in the fact that NGCP does not recognize that Transco is the ultimate owner of the facilities and that NGCP’s control is just temporary.

Rio added that the DICT would want the issue resolved not only for the National Broadband Plan and the free WiFi program of the government but also for the availability of the FOC for the commercial use of the new telco player.

“If Transco and NGCP can’t resolve a simple problem of the free use by a government agency for government purposes of its FOC, how could it tackle the commercial use of the FOC?

“What telco will gamble putting up billions of pesos of equipment under an agreement with NGCP, only to be dismantled or modified 15 years later by Transco when it takes over?” Rio said.

1 Comment

  1. Pingback: DICT inks deal with NGCP, TransCo on use of fiber optic network - Newsbytes Philippines

Comment on this post