The Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) highlighted its accomplishments and status of its banner programs- The National Broadband Program, National Government Data Center,  and Tech4ED/ Digital Transformation Centers- during the 5th Inter-Agency Infrastructure Flagship Projects (IFP) Forum on April 27, 2022, at the Philippine International Convention Center.

DICT Undersecretary Maria Victoria Castro shared the initiatives being undertaken by the DICT in order to achieve its vision of building the National Digital Infrastructure to improve Internet connectivity in the country and narrow the digital divide. The event was attended by different government agencies and representatives from the international community.

Undersecretary Castro reiterated the importance of banking on infrastructure investments in the country. “The demand for a fast, reliable, affordable, and available Internet is needed especially during this COVID-19 pandemic where the need for ICT is more than ever,” she said.

The National Broadband Program (NBP) is the national government’s strategy in providing faster, efficient, and equitable broadband connectivity in the country, especially to geographically isolated and disadvantaged areas (GIDA) by enhancing and building pervasive broadband infrastructure, encouraging investments in the unserved and underserved communities, amending and creating ICT-related policies, and stimulating demand for local content.

As of 31 March 2022, the National Fiber Backbone Phase 1 Project is already 73.56% complete, and Fiber Blowing of 206,887.10m (81.77%) of the 253,000m Fiber Optic Cable (FOC) has been completed, which shall carry 2Tbps speed capacity in the Cable Landing Station (CLS), among others.

The National Government Data Center (NGDC) builds and establishes the physical infrastructure to interconnect government agencies and serves as the launching point for many government services such as cloud computing, cloud hosting, server colocation, and other operations. The NGDC Subic Phase 1 is set to go-live by the 4th quarter of 2022 and Phase 2 by the 1st quarter of 2023 with four (4) Active Data Center Facilities utilizing 160 rack space as Disaster Recovery and Production site together with the National Broadband Program (NBP) node with 68 rack space capacity. There is also an ongoing preparation of engineering plans for the relocation and expansion of the NGDC-Main to 300 rack space capacity.

Lastly, the Tech4ED/ Digital Transformation Centers (DTC) provides access points for individuals and communities to bridge the education and digital divide and promote grassroots development and opportunities for inclusive growth and poverty. A total of 4,898 Tech4ED Centers have been established since its project inception, with more than 10 online and offline segments/modules available on the platform as of March 2022. A total of 157 Center Managers Training were also conducted where 1,514 Center Managers were capacitated to ensure sustainability and operation of the centers.

In closing, Usec. Castro shared that while the benefits of these initiatives and achievements are starting to be felt, a lot is left to be done and that the DICT will remain focused, driven, and guided by its vision and mission.