In a single day, the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) boosted its bid to improve the country’s connectivity anew after adding two new partners in its major ICT initiatives.
On Thursday, 7 February 2019, DICT Acting Secretary Eliseo M. Rio Jr. received the award of grant from the United States Trade and Development Agency (USTDA), through US Ambassador to the Philippines Sung Kim, for the implementation support for the National Broadband Program (NBP).
The grant will fund technical assistance for DICT in refining technical and operational designs, assessing future market demand, and preparing documentation required for the financing and implementation of the NBP.
The NBP is the government’s blueprint in accelerating the deployment of fiber optics fiber optic cables and wireless technologies to improve the overall internet speed and service availability and affordability across the country, particularly in remote areas.
“This grant supports the Philippine Government’s goal of improving connectivity across the country and moving towards a digital economy. The U.S. is a strong ally of the Philippines and I am proud to see our partnership expand into technology and communications,” Ambassador Kim said.
On the same day, Acting Secretary Rio also signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Aboitiz InfraCapital, represented by Chief Operating Officer Cosette V. Canilao, to officially become the seventh partner firm of the DICT in its common tower initiative.
Aboitiz Infrastructure joins ISOC Infrastructures Inc., ISON ECP Tower Pte. Ltd., IHS Towers, Edotco Group, China Energy Engineering Corporation, and RT Telecom SDN BHD in the government’s thrust to build 50,000 cell towers in the country.
“The Philippines’ journey towards connecting its people with fast and reliable broadband access is now closer to reality with these partnerships,” Rio said. “We will continue to explore ICT collaboration efforts for the benefit of the Filipinos, especially for those who live in unserved and underserved areas.”
The DICT is also set to sign with MGS Corporation, Inc. on 11 February (Monday) and American Tower on 19 February (Tuesday) for the same common tower arrangement.