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Solon wants telcos to shoulder part of National Broadband Plan

GMA News Online logo GMA News Online 7/16/2017 Marchadesch, Barbara
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Telecommunications companies should help pay for the National Broadband Plan, which could cost as much as P200 billion, a lawmaker said Sunday.

"The President, who can be very forceful, should consider simply telling telecommunications service providers to put up a counterpart fund that will help pay for [the] project, and they might just readily comply without complaining," Buhay Representative Jose "Lito" L. Atienza said in an emailed statement.

"After all, these telecommunications companies have been raking in billions of pesos in profits every year from the use of our airwaves that are wholly owned by the State," he added.

He was referring to the National Broadband Plan, which was ordered by President Rodrigo R. Duterte during his inaugural speech.

According to the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT), the National Broadband Plan would "give everyone the chance to reap the advantages of high-speed internet."

"The National Broadband Plan will be formulated and expected to be adopted within the year through a multi-stakeholder process. This would address issues such as among others to 'Ensure affordable access to every community' and 'Improve broadband connectivity'," it said.

It was officially approved by Duterte in March, after a presentation made by DICT Secretary Rodolfo A. Salalima during a Cabinet meeting in Malacañang.

"[W]hy should government alone shoulder the full cost of a project that is meant to extend a service that these telecommunications firms should be providing to begin with?" Atienza said. — BM, GMA News

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