Signing of Tripartite Agreement to boost Philippines’ National Broadband Plan

An announcement from the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) highlighted the signing of a Memorandum of Agreement among the DICT, the National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP) and the National Transmission Corporation (TransCo), which sealed the Tripartite Agreement that will allow utilisation of a 6,154-kilometre spare optical fibre for the implementation of the National Broadband Plan (NBP).

A monumental Tripartite Agreement among the DICT, the NGCP and TransCo was closed to seal their partnership for the utilisation of spare optical fibre to advance the implementation of the NBP.

NBP is the blueprint in building infostructures for a digital nation. This was developed by the Philippine government in order to accelerate the deployment of fibre optic cables and wireless technologies, as well as improve the overall internet speed and affordability all over the country, especially in remote areas.

The plan addresses the need for universal, faster and affordable internet access through 3 major strategies. First is the establishment of policy and regulatory reforms. Second is investment in broadband infrastructure. The third is support for the stimulation of broadband demand.

Present during this major development in improving the country’s connectivity are DICT Acting Secretary Eliseo M. Rio, Jr., NGCP Chairman and CEO Anthony L. Almeda, and TransCo President and CEO Melvin A. Matibag. The signing ceremony of the Memorandum of Agreement (MoA) happened at the Philippine International Convention Centre (PICC) on 8 June 2018.

The signing will pave the way for the government to utilise NGCP’s spare optical fibre at no cost, which will help address the growing need for faster and more affordable internet connectivity.

“We express our commitment to serve this nation with partnership with the DICT and TransCo,” said Mr Almeda.

“We welcome this opportunity to take part in the National Broadband Plan of the government to address the long withstanding issue of the internet connection quality of the Philippines,” he added.

Mr Matibag said, “This is seven years in the making. Coming to this agreement, we had a lot of arguments and disagreements, but despite all of these things, we are all here together to sign the agreement.”

“This is the fruit of years of shared determination to make a resounding impact for the Philippines, and for the Filipinos,” said Acting Secretary Rio.

As part of the Agreement, the DICT received an indefeasible right of use and access to certain spare Fibre Optic Cores (FOCs) with a total length of 6,154kms spanning from Luzon to Mindanao, vacant lots, tower space and related facilities of the NGCP, the current concessionaire of the National Transmission Corporation (TransCo)-owned grid.

With this development, the NBP is coming to fruition as the NGCP’s transmission facilities can act as the network backbone interconnected with the to-be constructed Luzon Bypass Infrastructure.

Approximately US$2.6 billion in government resources will be saved once the two major broadband projects are completed. Not only that, but also time and manpower will be saved. At the same time, it will also help address the need for faster and more affordable internet connectivity in the country.

NGCP is a privately owned corporation in charge of operating, maintaining, and developing the country's state-owned power grid, an interconnected system that transmits gigawatts of power at thousands of volts from where it is made to where it is needed.

TransCo is a government agency created under Republic Act No. 9136, known as the Electric Power Industry Reform Act (EPIRA) of 2001. TransCo operated and managed the power transmission system that links power plants to the electric distribution utilities nationwide.

A recent announcement from the DICT discussed that June is the 2018 National ICT Month, during which the government’s efforts in its vision of the Philippines as a thriving nation is showcased.

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