Quezon City, PH – The National e-Government infrastructure Sharing Project held a kick-off ceremony on March 18, 2016 at the Information and Communications Technology Office (DOST-ICTO) in partnership with the Asian Development Bank (ADB).
In attendance were representatives from the ADB, Department of Energy (DOE), National Economic Development Authority (NEDA), National Transmission Commission (TransCo), National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP), Power Sector Assets & Liabilities Management Corporation (PSALM), and the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC).
DOST-ICTO Undersecretary, Louis Napoleon Casambre, opened the program, delivering the welcome address on behalf of DOST Secretary, Mario Montejo. In his speech, he highlighted the due importance of Science in sustainable national development. He cited all of DOST’s efforts towards achieving development, particularly in the field of Information and Communications Technology. Undersecretary Casambre called for the need to strengthen the Philippines’ eGovernment infrastructure, citing UN reports on eGovernance, where the Philippines has shown a steep decline. He stated that through infrastructure sharing, interoperability between government agencies can be promoted, making it easier to execute G2G and G2B transactions. The impact of shared infrastructure benefits the Filipino public as well, not only in providing transparency through eGovernance, but also in giving improved connectivity for easier transactions.
With Usec. Casambre providing a brief background on the key importance of shared infrastructure, DOST-ICTO Deputy Executive Director (DED) for eGovernance, Denis Villorente elaborated the partnership further by presenting the project brief. By first identifying the existing problems of connectivity in the Philippines, he went on to defining the meaning of shared infrastructure, its objectives, as well as its benefits. He highlighted the main importance of this project is for a better and more connected Philippines for our stakeholders: our citizens.
What is Infrastructure Sharing?
DeD Villorente defined infrastructure sharing as an effective strategy in unleashing the economic and social benefits of a pervasive fiber optic cable network. It entails sharing between different network access providers, as well as different infrastructure from different utilities, such as utilities electricity and transport.
Through Infrastructure Sharing, the Project aims to do the following:
- Be able to use excess fiber/right of way, specifically on the transportation NGCP electricity transmission network to provide connectivity for better government services, including for public health, public education, and improved peace and order in the country.
- Introduce a technical assistance project, specifically an evaluation study on shared infrastructure, anticipating commercial aspects and other surrounding issues; and providing strategies moving forward.
- Research and document best practices for infrastructure strategy.
- Level off interests and concerns of government and stakeholders, including PSALM, TransCo, DOE, NGCP, and ERC.
Upon full implementation, the Project’s benefits for its end-users include:
- Better connectivity
- Reduced cost in network expansion and operating expenditures, trickling down to lessened costs for the consumer
- Revenue generation for host infrastructure provider through rental revenue and opportunities for private investment
- Healthy competition by providing opportunities for new operators
- Public benefits including impact to the environment: reduced public infrastructure expenditure leading to positive environmental impact
Clifford Beek, consultant to the Asian Development Bank, provided technical details of the project in his inception report. Following which, an open forum ensued, welcoming questions from the representatives of the different agencies and organizations.
Senior Public Management Specialist for ADB, Seok Yong Yoon delivered ADB’s stance on the project with his statement of support. He initially cited the poor state of Internet in the Philippines. In line with that, he states it is essential that the government explore options in providing sustainable Internet connectivity to meet the growing demands from the public and private sector. By providing technical assistance, the ADB shows the government its support in determining the most cost-effective and sustainable option to enhance Internet Connectivity in the Philippines. On a larger scale, the technical support of ADB shall also aid the ICTO in further developing policies for the National Broadband Plan.