The Philippines gets P23.8 million US grant for broadband project

11-Feb-2019 Intellasia | Phil Star | 6:00 AM Print This Post

The US government has given a P23.8-million grant to the Philippines to assist the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) in designing the P72-billion national broadband network (NBN) the government wants to build to provide internet connectivity even in the country’s far-flung areas.

The US Trade and Development Agency (USTDA) grant will fund the technical assistance to the DICT, helping it advance plans to provide broadband access to underserved markets.

US Ambassador Sung Kim and acting Information and Communications Secretary Eliseo Rio Jr. signed the grant to support the implementation of the Philippines NBN Project at DICT headquarters on Thursday.

The advisors, who will be selected by DICT from qualified US firms, will assist the department in refining technical and operational designs, assessing future market demand and preparing the documentation required for the financing and implementation of the network, the US embassy said in a statement.

“The US is a strong friend, partner and ally of the Philippines, and I am proud to expand our partnership in technology and communications,” Kim said. “This grant supports the Philippine government’s goal of improving connectivity across the country and transitioning towards a digital economy.”

Thomas Hardy, USTDA acting director, said the grant demonstrates the agency’s commitment to supporting the development of quality information and communications infrastructure and broadband capabilities in the Philippines.

“At the same time, this project will expand opportunities for US companies to deliver innovative technologies and solutions in the Philippines market,” he added.

The USTDA links US businesses to export opportunities by funding project preparation and partnership building activities that develop sustainable infrastructure and foster economic growth in partner countries.

Rio said the funding assistance was a tied grant, a scheme where the DICT will have to hire a US consultant to help with the design of the network and assess the equipment and various requirements in putting up the NBP.

“This is over and above the budget of the NBP for 2019,” which he said was proposed at P2 billion.

Denis Villorente, DICT undersecretary for development and innovations, said the consultant to be hired would be sought for expertise on making key decisions for the design and use of the proposed NBN.


Category: Philippines

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