House bill creating ICT hubs in every district hurdles first reading

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icto-building House Bill 4926, to be known as the “On-line Network Establishment Policy for the Philippines” or the “One Philippines Act,” establishes a nationwide inter-connectivity among local government units (LGUs) from major cities, through ICT hubs, to simple barangays, through the CICTCs. The measure is the substitute bill to House Bill 3344 authored by Pangasinan representative Rose Marie “Baby” Arenas. House Bill 4926 identifies through the Information and Communications Technology Office (DOST-ICT Office) the areas in every legislative district where the CICTCs or ICT Hubs shall be located pursuant to the development of a comprehensive Internet superhighway, national ICT plan and the national, provincial, city or municipal spatial and development plans, Arenas said. As defined under the measure, an ICT hub refers to a center or location where services may be provided through the use of ICT with a minimum speed of 4 megabits per second (Mbps). Such services may include telecommunications services, broadband and convergence services, business processing and data management. According to Arenas, the measure also encourages private sector to establish ICT hubs or CICTCs in accordance with the standards set by the ICTO. “IT-related industries, BPO/contact centers, and tourism are among the priority investment areas in the Investment Priority Plan. With more investment in these industries, especially in information and technology, we should be able to create more ICT Hubs in every legislative district in the country,” Arenas said. Arenas said the Philippines has 234 legislative districts in 81 provinces. If this bill becomes a law, 234 nodes can be established to pump prime economic activities and promote development in every province. The bill hopes to minimize the so-called digital divide as well as speed up the setting up of a wireless communication technology, Arenas added. Arenas stressed that with an ICT hub, each legislative district in the country will be able to harness its potential into making it investor-friendly and accessible. It can also electronically promote the provinces? nerve centers to connect to the various agencies of the national government thereby pushing the growth of e-government locally and nationally. “The ICT hub can also link a province to the national government during times of national calamities and disasters. More importantly, with the ICT Hub, the archipelagic feature of the country can be bridges, thereby creating One Philippines,” Arenas said. The bill proposes to give incentives to locator enterprise or public telecommunications entity (PTE) in the ICT hub or CICTC as provided for under existing laws, in addition to the incentives given by the local government unit where such ICT hub or CICTC is located. Moreover, the measure proposes to create an advisory council tasked to solicit inputs for the policy direction, coordination, and supervision in the establishment of ICT hubs and/or CICTCs in every legislative district of the country. A fine of P300,000 through the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) will be imposed on violators for committing the following acts: non-disclosure, non-interconnection or non-compliance with the committed information rate and quality of service.]]>

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