The government, through the Department of Science and Technology (DOST), is now in the final stages of setting up a 154-kilometer fiber-optic network that runs on the infrastructure of the Light Rail Transit (LRT) and the Metro Rail Transit (MRT).
At a yearend forum for the iGovPhil (Integrated Government Philippines) Project last December at the UP Techno Hub, Advanced Science and Technology Institute (ASTI-DOST) director Denis Villorente said the fiber-optic network will link the data centers of 162 government agencies around Metro Manila.
Villorente, who is also the director-general of the National Computer Center (NCC), said the DOST decided to pursue the project to allow the government to save as much as 80 percent of the cost of a similar facility offered by local telcos.
He said the government is spending P89 million for the project, while another 10 percent of the amount is being allotted for its maintenance since the operation and upkeep of the facility will be handled by a private contractor.
Villorente said that by attaching the pipes to the posts and fences of the LRT and the MRT, the government is saving a huge amount of money because the bulk of the cost charged by private providers comes from the right of way.
In fact, Villorente said the government can recover the cost of the fiber-optic network in less than year since local carriers ordinarily charge P321 million a year for the same length of fiber-optic network.
ICT Office executive director Louis Casambre, in an interview in ?Newsbytes On Air? over radio station DWDD, said it would not make sense to pay for the commercial rate of fiber-optic lines of the telcos when the government could operate its own network at a much lesser price since it owns the right of way of the pipeline.
?The government has the asset [right of way] but we?ll let the private sector operate it because they?re more flexible in maintenance and operation,? Casambre said.
He said that unlike the fiber-optic pipes installed by the telcos which are mostly buried underground, the government did not dig up the roads and merely allowed the pipes to crawl along the sides of MRT and LRT enclosures. From the stations, the government will install a last-mile access to link up the government agencies.
Casambre pointed out that the fiber-optic network, which he said has almost limitless capacity and has a life span of at least 15 years, will merely serve as some sort of a publicly owned wide area network that will connect government offices, which may include public schools and hospitals.
?But this is not a telco service. In fact, we?ve just come out of telecommunications business [by stopping the telegram and telephone services]. We?re not competing with the private telcos on this space,? explained Casambre.