MANILA, Philippines – Two Chinese technology suppliers are interested in partnering with the Philippine government for the proposed national broadband network, said the chief of the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT).
DICT Secretary Rodolfo Salalima said his office met with President Rodrigo Duterte early October to discuss the department’s creation of a “north to south” broadband plan, which he said could cost “between P77 billion and P199 billion” if built from scratch.
Even before the DICT completes a feasibility study on its proposed national broadband network, Salalima said it has already piqued interest from “the top two Chinese suppliers.”
“Some Chinese suppliers have come to us already and one of my undersecretaries is weighing all options on what will be a more efficient, effective broadband on less cost,” Salalima told reporters on the sidelines of the 1st DICT Summit in Makati City on Tuesday, November 8.
Asked if ZTE Corporation is one of them, Salalima replied: “Your guess is as good as mine.”
Chinese firm ZTE was involved in the Philippine National Broadband Network controversy, with corruption allegations hounding the awarding of the $329-million contract.
Using NGCP lines
The DICT chief said his department is waiting for the President’s decision on which of the 3 options for a national broadband plan he would choose.
These options are a purely physical infrastructure in the countryside built by the government, a working telecommunications infrastructure through a private sector joint venture, and the government as the 3rd party operator.
But for the DICT chief, the department is likely to adopt the 2nd option by using the National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP) lines.
“Remember the national electric grid? There is about 5,000 to 10,000 fiber optic cables running from north to south. We may start negotiating also with the private corporation on how we can make use of this. This was once owned by the government,” Salalima told reporters.
The NGCP holds a 50-year franchise to operate the country’s power transmission network.
The group comprises of Henry Sy Jr-led Monte Oro Grid Resources and Calaca High Power.
Salalima said the DICT plans to implement the national broadband network plan “next year” as it finalizes its study. – Rappler.com