‘Telcos should help pay P200-B national broadband project’


The country’s telecommunications firms should help pay for President Rodrigo Duterte’s national broadband network project that seeks to improve public access to high-speed Internet services in areas with inadequate connectivity, House senior deputy minority leader and Buhay Rep. Lito Atienza said on Monday. “The President, who can be very forceful, should consider simply telling telecommunications service providers to put up a counterpart fund that will help pay for the project, and they might just readily comply without complaining,”
Atienza added. He said, “Besides, why should government alone shoulder the full cost of a project that is meant to extend a service that these telecommunications firms should be providing to begin with?” Everywhere around the world, Atienza added, strong governments have been flexing their muscles and compelling telecommunications players to do their share in expanding public access to the Internet. He cited the case of the Canadian government, which recently declared high-speed Internet a basic service, and ordered telecommunications firms to contribute a percentage of their revenues to a $750-million fund meant to build broadband infrastructure in rural areas. “In fact, we have thousands of public schools that still do not have any Internet connectivity, let alone broadband. And if we do not address this gap quickly, we are in effect promoting gross inequality,” Atienza said.


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