Representatives from the government and private sector met on Monday and Tuesday (28 and 29 November 2016) to deliberate on the initiative of the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) to forge a National Broadband Plan (NBP).

The two-day consultation meeting discussed the plan to create a national broadband network that is “open, pervasive, inclusive, affordable, and trusted.

The objective of the broadband network is to interconnect government offices across the country, increase internet penetration, especially in far-flung areas, and stimulate economic growth through the digital empowerment of the people.

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Representatives from different government agencies pose with DICT officials during a break of the consultation meeting.

The participants were asked to provide inputs for the NBP, including recommendations on the three options or approaches on how to implement the plan. The three options are: building of backbones, establishment of government networks and services to “unserved” and “underserved” areas, and entry as a complete telecommunications player.

The NBP is part of the instructions of President Rodrigo R. Duterte to the newly created DICT, according to Secretary Rodolfo A. Salalima.

He said the stakeholders must agree on which option is viable for the nation based on government capabilities and resources. The development approach that they choose must address the concerns of the stakeholders and the people in general.

The participants were also urged to study the systems implemented in other countries and learn from them.

A feasibility study will be undertaken on the option that the stakeholders will choose. Policy development is also being considered to ensure the smooth implementation of the plan.