By: Miguel R. Camus 05:01 AM May 01, 2017
National Grid Corp. of the Philippines (NGCP), the private sector operator of the country’s power backbone, said it would support the P77.9-billion national broadband network project of the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT).
DICT Secretary Rodolfo Salalima has repeatedly said that tapping the transmission facilities of the NGCP was crucial to speeding up the implementation, and lowering the cost, of its broadband project, which would focus on delivering high-speed internet services to areas unserved or undeserved by telco providers.
NGCP said in a statement that talks with the Duterte administration began six months ago, however, it had expressed its interest to support a broadband project as early as 2012. NGCP is led by tycoons Henry Sy Jr. and Robert Coyiuto Jr.
“We’ve given the DICT and DOE (Department of Energy) all the information they need to put this project forward. We’ve informed them that the current transmission facility will be able to support the broadband network envisioned by the government,” said Sy, NGCP CEO and president.
“NGCP’s wide fiber optic network and related resources are sufficient to support this priority program under [the] administration. We are just waiting for details from our government partners,” he added.
As the country’s sole power transmission operator, NGCP has thousands of existing fiber optic facilities that run from Luzon to Mindanao.
Sy fired back at allegations made by National Transmission Corp. regarding alleged violations to their concession agreement.
“Our concession agreement specifically allows us to develop the transmission facility and engage in any business which maximizes the utilization of the transmission assets,” Sy said. “Any statement to the contrary is unfair and does not reflect the true state of affairs.”
Last March, President Duterte gave the green light for the national broadband plan, the government’s first time to revisit the project since it was scrapped under the Arroyo administration due to corruption issues.
According to the DICT, the project would serve missionary areas concentrated around Northern Luzon, Eastern and Western parts of Visayas as well as large swaths in Mindanao.