President Rodrigo Duterte on Monday approved the establishment of a national broadband plan, according to Agriculture Secretary Manny Piñol.
In a Facebook post, Piñol said Duterte gave his approval after Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) Secretary Rodolfo Salalima made his presentation during the 13th Cabinet meeting in Malacañang.
On-going Cabinet meeting
"Pres. Duterte emphasized the need for faster communications in the country," Piñol wrote.
"Pres. Duterte earlier 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,'" he added.
Salalima submitted three options to the Office of the President in October 2016 to implement a national broadband program. One of the options included installation of a national broadband network from scratch, which could cost the government P77 billion to P200 billion.
The DICT's national broadband plan was a response to Duterte's marching orders at his first State of the Nation Address (SONA) in July 2016, in which he pushed for free WiFi access to more areas in the countryside.
A national broadband plan was also in the works during the time of former President and incumbent Pampanga Rep. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.
The US$329 million National Broadband Network (NBN) deal with China's ZTE Corp. signed in April 2007 was cancelled by Arroyo in October 2007 following allegations of corruption and irregularities. — TJD, GMA News