Bam Aquino urges DICT to publicly disclose broadband plan

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Senator Bam Aquino
Credit: Official Facebook account of Senator Bam Aquino

Senator Paolo “Bam” Aquino IV on Tuesday, March 7, called on the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) to publicly disclose the government’s national broadband plan that President Duterte has approved.

Aquino said “We are happy that the government has been approved the national broadband plan that could help improve the quality and expand the scope of Internet services in the country.”

But it is imperative that the government presents the details of the plan to all stakeholders, experts and other concerned groups for suggestion and scrutiny.

“Now that the plan is approved, we call on DICT to present it to stakeholders, experts and other concerned organizations for scrutiny and suggestion to ensure that it will be an effective one,” said the senator.

Aquino is currently chair of the Senate committee on science and technology, who earlier pressed for better and faster Internet connection nationwide.

He is the principal sponsor of Senate Bill No. 1277 or the Free Internet Access in Public Places Act, which is being currently tackled in the plenary.

If enacted into law, free Internet access would be provided in all national and local government offices, public schools, public transport terminals, public hospitals and public libraries.

The lawmaker said he would conduct a hearing to give the DICT an avenue where they can provide details of the P75-billion broadband plan.

Aquino recalled that during last year’s committee hearing, the DICT presented three options to implement the national broadband plan, including its preferred way of investing in Internet infrastructure, like fiber optic cables, especially in underserved and hard-to-reach areas.

Under this option, the government would also use the existing infrastructure of current players while encouraging new players to develop new Internet infrastructure.

The DICT is expected to come out with a final national broadband plan by the 2nd quarter of 2017 which is expected to be finished in about two to three years.

Source: Manila Bulletin