Bill to create 'online network establishment' in PH pushed

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By Tom Noda A new bill seeking to guide the development of the country’s “Online Network Establishment (ONE)” is being pushed in the House of Representatives and is set to be discussed in the plenary session soon. [caption id="attachment_20052" align="aligncenter" width="600"]Camarines Sur representative Felix William ?Wimpy? Fuentebella discussed his ONE bill at the recent 9th Knowledge Exchange Conference (KEC9) held at the Century Park Hotel in Manila Camarines Sur representative Felix William ?Wimpy? Fuentebella discussed his ONE bill at the recent 9th Knowledge Exchange Conference (KEC9) held at the Century Park Hotel in Manila [/caption] Called ?ONE Philippines Act?, the bill highlights the role of national government agencies, particularly the Information Communications Technology Office (ICT Office) of the DOST and the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC), in creating a new system of providing access to information, which includes IT infrastructure where both the private players and government can invest in. The bill’s author, Camarines Sur 4th district representative Felix William ?Wimpy? Fuentebella, explained the Online Network Establishment is a unique model and was not copied from other countries. “It is a product of consultations from industry players, government regulators and IT planners,” Fuentebella said, adding that the ONE Philippines Act addresses the weaknesses in planning and regulation, as well as the putting up of information systems, in remote areas of the country. He said one way to have an effective an “online network establishment” is develop a so-called advanced “Internet superhighway”, which he referred to as the “infobahn” or the structure that carriers use where information can pass through. “Internet superhighway includes the fiber-optics placed on land or under the sea and the frequencies of different spectrum which enables wireless exchange of information,” he said. Fuentebella said the bill specifically provides that each district should have an Internet center or hub. Fresh from surpassing the committee level, the bill identifies the roles of ICT Office and the NTC with the former as planner and the latter as regulator. A tripartite representation coming from the government, private sector, and users is also being stipulated under the bill. Fuentebella identified TV White Space or TVWS technology as a major component for the creation of the local Internet superhighway. It refers to the vacant frequencies located between broadcast TV channels and whose signals have proven to penetrate walls and obstacles like mountains and even underwater streams, enabling rich media distribution. The lawmaker said TVWS is ideal for the Philippines since it is a mountainous archipelago. “We’re trying to work with the ICT Office and the NTC to use TVWS to improve communication speed that will provide information that can be used in disaster response in times typhoons and calamities, and also in the daily activities of people from different sectors like in livelihood, health, and education,” he said. Fuentebella also said free public access is possible with the Internet superhighway if it will be implemented by local government units or subsidized by private firms as part of their corporate social responsibility initiatives in a barangay, municipality or province. Unlike the ill-fated National Broadband Network (NBN) project during the Arroyo administration, Fuentebella said ONE Philippines is not expected to court controversy since the government won’t spend much on it. In fact, the bill even provides incentives for private entities to come in, he said. “I believe telcos also see the importance. There are many technologies that can change the landscape and we only need to be ready,” he said. TVWS was one of the main topics in the recent 9th Knowledge Exchange Conference (KEC9) held at the Century Park Hotel in Manila attended by members of Congress, municipal and city mayors, governors, head of agencies, and other stakeholders. ]]>

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