THE Philippine government would be the “third” telecommunication company within the next three to four years competing with such giants as Globe and PLDT-Smart in providing the country fast, efficient and reliable connectivity.
This is envisioned in the government’s National Broadband Plan, which is being fast tracked to build the corresponding network infrastructure for the country under the administration of President Duterte.
National Telecommunications Commission Commissioner Gamaliel Cordoba the NBP would require an estimated allocation of P77 billion to P199 billion to make the plan a reality before this decade ends.
Cordoba explained during the Philippine Telecoms Summit held recently, that all other ASEAN countries have telecom networks that are either wholly-owned, partly financed, or operated by their respective governments.
It is only in the Philippines that the broadband networks are constructed, owned and operated by private companies.
Cordoba said the lack of infrastructure for telecommunications makes the Philippines lag behind the connectivity factor, as compared to neighboring countries where their governments constructed and funded their respective national broadband network infrastructure.
The implementing agency for the NBP is the newly formed Department of Information and Communications Technology, headed by Atty. Rodolfo Salalima.
According to Salima, the NBP is establishing broadband infrastructure from the northern to the southern parts of the country with a goal to deliver telecommunications services to areas in the countryside without access to the internet.
He added that they prefer the option to build a broadband infrastructure that will be operated and managed by the government through the DICT.”
In order to implement the plan, DICT needs operational telcos like PLDT-Smart and Globe Telecom to participate in the program.
However, the existing telcos – PLDT-Smart and Globe Telecoms – might be affected by the aggressive intervention of the Philippine Competition Commission in the work, decisions, and actuation of both the National Telecommunications Commission and the DICT.
There is a real fear among industry observers that the NBN program will be hindered by the PCC’s unjustifiable overlapping role with that of the NTC and the DICT.
The bigger picture shows that the NBN program, as supported by PLDT and Globe, is a significant step forward in upgrading the state of the telecoms industry in the country for the benefit of a more connected public.