Ready for digital future: Joey Salceda bats for creation of Bicol broadband network

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By Billy Begas

House Committee on Ways and Means chairperson and Albay Rep. Joey Salceda said that a regional broadband network will be a key factor in the economic growth of the Bicol region.

During his keynote speech to the Investments Design to Accelerate Local Economies (IDEAL) program of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) – Regional Office V, Salceda stressed that Bicol should be “ready for the digital future.”

“I am pushing for a Regional Broadband Network. We have three main fiber optic lines that land in the Bicol Region: The JUPITER line and the Asia Submarine Cable Express, which lands in Camarines Norte, and the PLDT Fiber Optic Network which traverses Legazpi and Daraga. Parts of Camalig and Manito, and the whole of Rapu-rapu remain inaccessible by fiber-to-premises internet,” Salceda said.

Salceda proposed the creation of a Digital Bicol Project, a regional broadband network that will include the Albay Middle-and-Last-Mile Broadband Network that will be ready for connection with the National Broadband Network.

He said satellite-based technologies should also be tapped for “peripheries” of the region, such as Catanduanes, Rapu-Rapu, Ticao, and Burias.

“Fiber-to-premises will not make sense in many of these areas. That is why we need to have satellite-based options, especially for education and civic functions in these peripheral areas,” he added.

“I am the strongest proponent of satellite liberalization in Congress, which the executive has now adopted as policy by issuing the executive order or satellite liberalization. We should take advantage of the situation in Bicol,” he noted.