The Department of Information and Communications Technology,
Philippines (DICT) and the Bases Conversion and Development Authority (BCDA) launched
the Luzon Bypass Infrastructure project on November 15 to build an ultra-high speed
information highway that will greatly improve the speed, affordability and
accessibility of broadband Internet throughout the country. It is expected to
be online at the end of 2019.
DICT holds responsibility for planning, developing, and
promoting the national ICT development agenda, while BCDA is a state-owned
enterprise that is focused on developing former military assets, land assets in
particular, into new centres for growth (Click
for OpenGov Interview with Vivencio B. Dizon, President and CEO of BCDA from
Luzon is the largest and most populous island in the
Philippines. It is the economic and political centre of the nation, being home
to the country's capital city, Manila, as well as Quezon City, the country's
most populous city. The press release states that the Luzon Strait has a history
of multiple simultaneous submarine cable breaks. The Luzon Bypass
Infrastructure provides a terrestrial bypass route for international submarine
cable owners seeking diversity from the Luzon Strait. BCDA will build the Luzon
Bypass Infrastructure, consisting of two cable landing stations connected by a
250-km long cable network corridor.
DICT will operate the Luzon Bypass Infrastructure, maintain
the related facilities and provide last mile connectivity in the Philippines for a period of 25 years.
Facebook will the first party to utilise the Infrastructure
and will construct and operate a submarine cable system that will land in the
cable stations on the East and West Coasts of Luzon. The cable will provide
direct connections from Luzon to Internet hubs in the United States and Asia.
In exchange for utilising the bypass infrastructure,
Facebook will provide the Philippine Government with bandwidth equivalent to at
least 2 million Mbps, significantly expanding the capacity available for the
Government’s connectivity programs.
Internet among priority areas for Government
Faster and cheaper Internet is among the solutions being
pushed by the current national administration as part of the 0+10 point agenda of the President, which includes
priority programs to alleviate poverty, spur inclusive growth and development,
and create jobs throughout the country.
Currently, Philippines has one of the slowest and most
expensive Internet markets in the region. Earlier this year, DICT released
a National Broadband Plan to accelerate the deployment of fiber optics cables
and wireless technologies to improve Internet speed, following a working
draft released in March. The Plan
includes the establishment of the Philippine Integrated Infostructure (PhII), consisting
of international submarine cable landing stations, national government
backbone, and the last mile access network.
In line with that, this new broadband infrastructure is expected
to significantly improve Internet speed and increase availability throughout
the country to support the DICT’s flagship programmes to deliver
free Wi-FI in public places nationwide, as well as online government
services including for education and health.
Properties being developed by the BCDA, such as Clark and
New Clark City, stand to benefit greatly from this project. New Clark City will be the country’s
first smart, green and disaster-resilient metropolis that is envisioned to be
one of the most liveable cities in the region.