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More LGUs sign up for National Broadband Program

/ 04:00 AM December 05, 2020

The Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) announced further progress in the country’s latest push to have a national broadband network.

The DICT said on Friday it had signed an agreement with the province of Pangasinan for free Wi-Fi and the local government’s “provincial broadband network.”

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It also signed similar agreements with Baguio City, Zambales and Negros Occidental.

Information and Communications Secretary Gregorio Honasan II said the P18-billion project would spur economic growth and widen internet coverage, especially in areas underserved by private telecommunications companies.

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The signing on Friday was part of the first phase of the National Broadband Program (NBP), which will connect provincial broadband networks to the national fiber backbone.

“Once the provincial broadband networks are linked and activated, the corresponding government units can avail themselves of the benefits of the NBP,” the DICT said.

Phase 1 of the NBP will co­ver provinces in Luzon and areas in the National Capital Region. The DICT hopes to bring the program nationwide in two years under the next phase.

The rollout comes amid challenges in securing funding with the DICT expected to secure just a fraction of the budget it had requested for next year.

The department earlier said the benefits of the project would be broadly felt by 2021, when the government hoped to save about P720 million in internet expenses.

With the construction of subsequent phases and the expansion of facilities, cumulative savings will hit P34.25 billion by 2025, the department added.

The NBP includes the activation of cable landing stations in Baler, Aurora. These will also be linked to the National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP) node in San Fernando, La Union, through the Luzon Bypass Infrastructure.

The DICT will then activate and light up four DICT nodes and 15 NGCP nodes that will connect with the various DICT equipment. From there, we will be able to provide bandwidth to nearby govnet clients and free Wi-Fi beneficiaries.

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