PH launches its first National Fiber Backbone

THE National Government has launched the country’s first National Fiber Backbone (NFB) project, which is aimed at increasing internet connectivity service capacity to various provinces, government offices, and data centers in the Philippines.

President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. led the grand launching of the NFB Phase 1 in Pasay City on Friday, April 19, 2024, where he reiterated his vision of bringing high-speed internet access to the country to create a more digitally improved Philippines.

“I have made it clear since the start of my term that one of the top priorities that this administration recognizes is to create a Digital Philippines. We went to our people to -- and we asked them what the problems are and their response was as expected. Our people want to receive fast, reliable, affordable internet services, and our agencies equipped with the best information technology tools that are available,” Marcos said.

“It is because it is clear that, to us, that the internet has become the backbone of trade, communications, transactions within and amongst communities. Because this backbone links us together, then it serves as the economic spine that props up our growth and supports our development,” he added.

Earlier, Marcos ordered through the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) the creation of the National Broadband Program (NBP), which is tasked to provide necessary interventions, policies, and infrastructures to enable even the most remote areas to enjoy the benefit of having “modern and state-of-the-art connections.”

Marcos also expressed strong belief that Filipinos will be able to reach their full potential through a fast and reliable internet.

The first phase of the NFB spans 1,245 kilometers and is composed of 28 nodes from Laoag, Ilocos Norte, down to Roces District in Quezon City with an initial 600 Gbps optical spectrum capacity.

It is seen to serve the needs of the government and the communities along the way, including at least 14 provinces in Northern and Central Luzon, two National Government Data Centers and four Bases Conversion and Development Authority ecozones.

It will also empower 346 national and local government offices connected to GovNet, boosting their overall operational efficiency and generating more than 145 million pesos in potential savings annually.

The NFB will also extend a digital lifeline to more than 3,000 Free Wi-Fi Sites, enabling direct internet access for approximately 750,000 beneficiaries in Ilocos Region, Central Luzon, and the National Capital Region.

The five-phased project is expected to be completed by 2026.

“Once finished, the DICT expects to increase the penetration rate from 33 percent as it is now to 65 percent, reaching 70 million Filipinos out of the current 115 million population nationwide. It will also lower the price to as much as USD 5 per Mbps,” Marcos said, noting it would open a wide range of employment opportunities, improve market efficiency, attract foreign investments, and stimulate livelihood opportunities across all sectors, while bringing the transformative power of free and fast access to information, guaranteeing people’s enjoyment of the internet as a basic human right.

“Even this early, we are assured that the NFB Phase 1 will already make a significant impact on our internet connectivity as well as in the day-to-day activities of ordinary Filipinos,” he added. (TPM/SunStar Philippines)

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