Press Releases

Salceda bats for regional broadband network for Bicol; House economic recovery chief says connectivity crucial to Bicol economic recovery

October 13th, 2021

House Ways and Means Chair and Economic Recovery Co-Chair Joey Sarte Salceda (Albay, 2nd district) is pushing for a regional broadband network as a key driver of economic growth in the Bicol region. Salceda made the recommendation during a keynote speech to the Investments Design to Accelerate Local Economies (IDEAL) program of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) – Regional Office V.

“When you talk about an ideal business environment for Bicol, connectivity is the crux of your subject. Connectivity to trade, via ports and airports. Connectivity to commerce and travel, via an efficient transport network, including an expressway from the rest of Luzon. Connectivity to information and virtual commerce via the internet. Connectivity within Bicol, through a series of internal roads,” Salceda said.

“We must also create a Bicol that is 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 explained.

“I will propose the creation of the Digital Bicol Project, a regional broadband network that will include the Albay Middle-and-Last-Mile Broadband Network to connect these areas. We will initially connect with existing private-sector ISPs and the fiber optic network landings in Camarines Norte, but with planned connectivity to an eventual National Broadband Network,” Salceda added.

Salceda added that Bicol must “relentlessly pursue” development.

“As for a development philosophy for the Bicol region, I offer you what my belief was when I was Regional Development Council chair of the region for almost 10 years: Development everywhere possible,” Salceda said.

“I learned that from then NEDA Secretary Winnie Monsod, who told me when I was much younger that a failure to achieve economic growth drives people towards poverty,” Salceda added.

In remarks after the address, Salceda said that they must also add satellite-based technologies, especially for the “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,” Salceda said.

“The broadband network will be a great backbone, but overall, total connectivity will include non-broadband complements to internet connectivity.”

“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.” #

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