Baguio, La Trinidad picked as pilot sites for nat’l broadband project

By Aldwin Quitasol

BAGUIO CITY —  The Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT), the National Transmission Corporation (TransCo)  and Benguet Electric Cooperative (Beneco) have formally inked a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) to implement the government’s National Broadband Plan (NBP) pilot project in Baguio City and in La Trinidad, Benguet.

Photo shows officials of the DICT, TransCo, and Beneco during the MOA signing in Baguio City

According to DICT assistant secretary Alan Silor, Baguio and La Trinidad are among the 33 identified priority growth areas for the NBP pilot project where high-speed Internet access will be provided to selected government agencies, local government units (LGUs) hospitals, state universities and colleges (sucs) and public schools.

He said the NBP is the flagship initiative of the government for the acceleration of the deployment of fiber-optic cables and wireless technologies to improve the Internet connection speed in the country.

Silor explained that the NBP has three major strategies: the establishment of policy and regulatory reforms, government investment in broadband infostructure, and support for the stimulation of broadband demand.

He said the NBP aims to tap the government’s existing ICT infrastructure and has five project components — the National Fiber Optic (FOC) backbone, a secure government network, accelerated cell tower build-up, fiber-optic deployment, and satellite overlay.

Silor noted that access to the Internet is no longer just a luxury but a necessity in the everyday lives of Filipinos in both the urban and rural areas. Through online services, it will be convenient for the people to transact with the government without the hassle of travel and time, he said.

He said the government is tapping electric cooperatives (ECs) which have the capacity to reach to far-flung areas through their electric power facilities.

He also explained that the Cordillera Region is being prioritized by the government as it is one of the areas in the country where online services are lagging. “Hindi siya masyadong pinapansin ng mga telcos,” Silor said.

Beneco agreed last year to make its facilities available to the DICT for the rollout of fiber-optic cables.

Beneco general manager Gerardo Versoza said that aside from providing electricity, they were delighted to know that its facilities can also be used to deliver broadband connectivity to its customers.

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