DICT: Internet to reach unserved, underserved areas by 2025
Full internet connectivity, especially in unserved or underserved areas across the Philippines, would be realized no earlier than 2025, according to the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT).
DICT Undersecretary Emmanuel Caintic said on Thursday that the government kicked off last year its “five-year road map,” which involved rolling out a combination of fiber line, cell tower and internet satellite access.
Speaking during a DICT forum titled “Future of the ICT Industry in the Country,” Caintic said the road map would complement “the existing efforts of the private sector” and target areas where the firms would not invest given the lack of business viability.
The DICT road map indicated, however, that bulk of the work would happen from 2022 until 2025, or when a new administration with possibly a new set of plans steps in after President Duterte leaves office.
From 2022 to 2023, the DICT plans to ramp up the construction of internet infrastructure to connect Regions 1 to 12. It also intends to build cell towers and deploy “hi-throughout satellites” for provinces such as Mindoro, Marinduque, Batanes, Romblon, Siargao and Camiguin.
Its rollout from 2020 to 2021 involves linking Regions 1 and 3, parts of Region 2 and Metro Manila through the existing fiber network of the National Grid Corp. of the Philippines.
More detailed plans were provided by other forum participants led by top executives of telco giants PLDT Inc. and Globe Telecom, new player Dito Telecommunity and fiber internet company Converge ICT Solutions.
PLDT president Alfredo Panlilio and Globe CEO Ernest Cu said network upgrades were ongoing for fixed-line and mobile given increasing demands this pandemic.
Cu also acknowledged the government’s recent efforts easing the permitting process, but said the “latest bottleneck” was procuring power for new cell sites.
Converge ICT CEO Dennis Anthony Uy also said on Thursday that they were on track to reach over 40 percent of households within the year. Converge launched commercial services in Cebu on June 7 and would roll out in Davao before the end of 2021.
Dito Telecommunity chief technology officer Rodolfo Santiago said they were stepping up their network expansion with plans to finish around 4,500 cell towers within 2021. INQ
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