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DICT inks co-location deal with NGCP for National Broadband Plan

The Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) on Wednesday signed an agreement with the National Grid Corp. of the Philippines (NGCP) to co-locate its facilities in the grid operator’s infrastructure for the implementation of the government’s National Broadband Plan.

At a signing ceremony in Quezon City, DICT Secretary Ivan John Uy said that the agency signed a master lease agreement with the NGCP “because we would definitely have to co-locate our facilities inside the NGCP infrastructure.”

“This signifies a milestone in our National Broadband Plan, which is to facilitate the 2-terabyte connection that’s coming in from our eastern seaboard. We will be using the dark fiber that is available through the NGCP, our national grid transmission provider,” Uy said in his remarks during the event.

The DICT provided an audio recording of the signing ceremony to the members of the media.

In 2018, the DICT, NGCP and National Transmission Corp. (TransCo) signed a tripartite agreement which gives the DICT an "indefeasible right” of use and access in certain fiber optic cores, vacant lots, tower spaces, and related facilities o NGCP—the private sector concessionaire of the TransCo-owned power grid.

The dark fiber is 6,154 kilometers long and spans from Luzon to Mindanao.

Dark fiber is unused fiber-optic cables, which could be leased to individuals or companies to establish optical connections among locations.

The 2018 agreement followed the November 2017 team up between the Philippine government and Facebook, now Meta, for the creation of a cable landing system, which aims to improve internet speeds to reach as fast as 2 terabits per second (Tbps) by connecting the country to the rest of Asia and the United States.

Under the partnership,  Meta will construct and operate a cable system that will land in the cable stations in Baler, Aurora and in Poro Point in San Fernando, La Union.

The Bases Conversion and Development Authority (BCDA) will build the Luzon Bypass Infrastructure—two cable landing stations connected by a 250-kilometer long cable network—which will host the cable systems.

NGCP president Anthony Almeda, for his part, said that the master lease agreement between the company and the DICT “will be the start of the National Broadband for the Philippines as mandated by the president.”

“NGCP and DICT will collaborate with anything that has to be done. NGCP will be fully supportive to Secretary Uy’s endeavour with this project. The master lease agreement today for the co-location of DICT’s equipment in our substation sees NGCP’s commitment to support the government’s National Broadband Program and take part in providing the country with fast and affordable internet access,” Almeda said.

“We believe that this will support innovation and expansion among various industries and boost economic recovery,” he said.

The DICT earlier said the government was expected to save P720 million in internet subscription expenses in the first year of implementation of the NBP.

It said that for NBP’s Phase 1, the DICT will activate the cable landing station in Baler and connect to NGCP Node in San Fernando through the Luzon Bypass Infrastructure.—LDF, GMA News