Improving the country’s internet connectivity

BY JULIO P. YAP JR.

 

THE COUNTRY’S “slow” internet connection may soon be a thing of the past – at least that’s what the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) says.

The DOST says that it welcomes the initiative of the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) which was formerly under the DOST, the Bases Conversion Development Authority (BCDA), and EDGE (a.k.a. Facebook).

This initiative is called the Luzon Bypass Infrastructure (LBI) project, the first of its kind for the government to implement by building and operating its own submarine cable landing stations.

Under the project, social media giant Facebook will be the first party to use the said infrastructure, thereby benefitting millions of internet users with faster connectivity.

DOST Secretary Fortunato T. de la Peña recently said the signing of the Landing Party Agreement or LPA between the DICT, BCDA, and EDGE for the Philippine government’s first cable landing stations under the Luzon Bypass Infrastructure Project is a major milestone in the history of ICT development in the country.

The project will pave the way to building an ultra high-speed Internet backbone for the entire country by the end of 2019 where Internet speed can go up to 100 mbps.

BCDA will build the LBI made up of two cable landing stations that are connected by a 250-kilometer long cable network corridor.

On the other hand, Facebook as the first user will construct and operate a submarine cable system that will land in the cable stations on the east and west coasts of Luzon.

This cable link will provide direct access from the Luzon grid to Internet hubs in the United States and Asia.

While Facebook will provide the Philippine government with a bandwidth of at least 2 million mbps (or 2 tbps) that is almost similar to the bandwidth being provided by the leading telecommunications companies in the country.

For its part, DICT will operate the LBI and maintain the related facilities and provide last mile connectivity in the Philippines for a period of 25 years.

Under this agreement, the Pacific Light Cable Network, a trans-Pacific fiber optic submarine cable system managed by EDGE, will be provided with a “terrestrial bypass route” across Luzon through infrastructure to be built by the BCDA.

The cable will enter and exit the country through government cable landing stations in Baler, Aurora and San Fernando, La Union, respectively.

This bypass route will provide diversity and redundancy to the usual route of submarine cables crossing the Pacific.

Tracing back the events, the linkage was first made through the efforts of the Advanced Science and Technology Institute (ASTI) of the DOST and the Information and Communications Technology Office (ICTO), which was then under the DOST.

The DOST-ASTI, through its PREGINET initiative, worked to establish strategic linkages in pursuit of its advocacy for an open, reliable, and efficient connectivity for supporting research, education, and innovation.

According the DOST, the government program will provide international connections to local businesses and strengthen the country’s digital bridge to the rest of the world.

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