Tuesday, June 18, 2019

Beneco inks broadband agreement

BAGUIO. Benguet Electric Cooperative (BENECO) general manager Gerardo Versoza (center) signs the memorandum of agreement with the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT), and National Transmission (Transco) for a faster internet connection and free wifi in public spaces in Baguio City as Beneco board president Rocky Aliping (left) looks on. (Jean Nicole Cortes)

THE NATIONAL Telecommunications Commission (NTC), Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) and Benguet Electric Cooperative (Beneco) formally signed a tripartite agreement which will pilot the National Broadband Plan in the country’s summer capital and the province of Benguet.

In the memorandum of agreement (MOA), Beneco will include in its electrical system internet services through the laying of its fiber optic lines.

“While the goal in the use of fiber optic cable and wireless technology initially revolves around efficient energy distribution and consumer satisfaction, never had we for seen that this infrastructure could be utilized to a greater and better purpose all for the benefit of the common good specially for those living in the rural areas who are now enjoying electric service,” Beneco general manager Gerardo Versoza said.

The signing was done at the Dumol Hall of Beneco.

The MOA aims to ensure widespread availability of high-speed and affordable broadband in remote and rural areas of the country through the electric cooperatives.

The tripartite agreements with DICT and Beneco is to roll out a pilot national broadband network (NBN) project in Baguio for government agencies and internet service.

“Admittedly, I personally failed to imagine and anticipate that like electricity, the internet would be considered as a need as we know in a highly technological society coupled with smart gadgets and a fast-paced lifestyle, the internet has evolved into more than of a need than a luxury today. And I never thought that Beneco will have the chance to play a part in this elaborate spectacle,” Versoza stated.

DICT, TransCo and National Grid Corporation of the Philippines earlier signed a tripartite agreement for the use of spare optical fiber to speed up the implementation of the government’s NBN.

NGCP operates the country’s transmission network under its concession agreement with the government, while TransCo owns the “dark fiber’ asset.

The agreement enabled the government to save around P50 billion by using the dark fiber assets of TransCo.

The agreement was initially for the rollout to government offices and agencies and other public places, but a separate agreement with the National Electrification Administration and the electric cooperatives would bring connectivity to the households.

Beneco is now in the final stage of laying down 1000 automated meter readers (AMR) for the first biggest 1000 loaders in the city which consists of 30 percent of its total sales.

“We are initially humbled by this collaboration with the DICT and the NTC, we are very thankful that we have been given the opportunity to be of service first by delivering electric service, and second is for Beneco to hopefully be a last mile provider eventually for internet service in the barangays in collaboration with the National Broadband Project of the government,” Versoza added.

The DICT, NEA and the electric cooperatives previously signed a memorandum of agreement for the “last mile” of the government’s NBN project aimed at improving the internet access in the country.

DICT, NEA and the Philippine Rural Electric Cooperatives Association Inc. formalized the tripartite collaboration “to realize the objectives of the NBP, including but not limited to the co-use of fiber optic cables.”

Under the agreement, NEA and Philreca will coordinate with the ECs regarding the NBP project. The DICT, on the other hand, will be allowed to connect or access the electric co-op’s existing nodes to link with other government agencies.


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