President Rodrigo Duterte has approved the national broadband program on Monday, according to Agriculture Secretary Manny Piñol.

During the latest cabinet meeting, Information and Communications Technology Secretary Rodolfo Salalima presented the proposal to set up a national broadband network that would mainly cater to rural areas. The project was estimated to cost Php200 billion and projected to be completed in three years.

President Duterte Approves National Broadband Program
After hearing the proposal, President Duterte gave his go signal, that according to a Facebook post shared by Piñol during the meeting. Piñol added that Duterte said he would like DICT to develop a national broadband plan to accelerate the deployment of fiber optics cables and wireless technologies to improve internet speed. The President also emphasized the need for faster communications in the country.

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Salalima passed three options to Malacañang in October 2016 about the national broadband plan. One of which is to set up a national broadband network from scratch, projected to cost from Php77 billion to Php200 billion.

The DICT’s national broadband proposal is an answer to the President’s initiative during his first State of the Nation Address (SONA) in July 2016 to push for free WiFi access to more areas in the countryside.

During the time of former president and current Pampanga Representative Gloria Arroyo, a national broadband plan was also in the works, but was halted with allegations of corruption and irregularities.
The Philippines is known for having one of the slowest internet speeds in Asia averaging 3.6 Mbps per household, compared to the 12.4 Mbps average in other countries in Southeast Asia. If the said project pushes through, it would be a great news for the social media loving Filipinos.

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