EXCLUSIVE | DICT to iron out national broadband plan in a year, will use ‘passive infra’ — Salalima

Jose Bimbo F. Santos, Monday, August 1, 2016 6:35 pm

EXCLUSIVE | DICT To Iron Out National Broadband Plan In A Year, Will Use ‘passive Infra’ — Salalima

MANILA Heeding the call of President Rodrigo Duterte in his first State of the Nation Address, Department of ICT Sec. Rodolfo Salalima said he will iron out a national broadband strategy in a year by using in part a couple of the state s passive infrastructure .

We may be able to give to the President the plan in a year s time or less, Salalima told in an interview. Last July 25, Duterte stated in his inaugural SONA that he ordered the DICT to develop a national broadband plan to improve Internet speed. Salalima said he is looking at using a number of unused state infrastructure in the broadband strategy which includes assets such as the regional offices of shuttered divisions like the Telecommunications Office or Telof, a now-defunct office previously under the Department of Transportation and Communication.

They (Telof) have regional properties that are not used anymore so we can revive those and make them as a component of the overall infrastructure, Salalima said.

Salalima added he is also aiming to work with the National Grid Corporation of the Philippines.

The National Grid has lines meant for communication and I was told it s about 5 thousand kilometers for wired and wireless and they are not being used now for public service, Salalima said. An arrangement with the Department of Public Works and Highways will also be worked out for the possible provision of underground ducts or common corridors that would make it easier for providers to lay down cables.

There are plans to coordinate with the DPWH so that on the matter of roads baka puwedeng isabay na namin ang ducts para when telco providers want to put infra leading to far-flung municipalities, hindi na mahihirapan, Salalima said. Included also in the overall strategy is the continued deployment of state-sponsored free Wi-Fi to far-flung areas, a project initiated by DICT s predecessor, the Department of Science and Technology ICT Office, under the Juan Konek program.

The reason for the national broadband plan is for it to exist as a supplement or as an add-on to the services of the commercial service providers in those areas where their services are lacking, Salalima said.

Now if you ask me if there are already components, yes, only that we have yet to evolve an integrated and comprehensive one kasi wala pa direction, hiwa-hiwalay pa.

As previously reported, Salalima also said that he also wants to make life easier for the telcos in terms of laying down infrastructure by expediting permit applications at the local government level, a bottleneck that both Globe and PLDT have regularly railed against.

Kung magawa na namin ang problema ng mga telco, pag nabigay na namin ang solusyon then wala na silang masasabi. Then we can tell them they are at fault kung walang mangyari. Kasi ngayon nagtuturuan pa, ayoko ng ganun, Salalima said. Both Globe and PLDT in separate interviews welcomed Salalima s initiatives.

We ve always spoken about the challenge of building sites around the country. People always said things are slow in fixed line access and it is true because it is very difficult to roll out so any help that the government can give with regard to facilitating the permitting process will be wonderful for us, Globe Telcom CEO Ernest Cu said.

Certainly that is welcome news because the task of providing such infrastructure as fiber connectivity is as equally important as roads and bridges so for the government to help the private sector is certainly much welcome, said Eric Alberto, PLDT executive vice president. Salalima also took exception to the notion that he would treat the telcos with kid gloves due to his past experience, after having served as chief legal counsel of Globe Telecom among others.

The problem with that comment is that it assumes gratuitously that a former member of the private sector is not capable of love of country, Salalima said.

I dispute the implied suggestion that I am not capable of making an objective and rational decision because I am committed to making fair and reasonable decisions for as long as it is legal and fair.

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