By Vanne Elaine Terrazola
Senator Aquilino Pimentel III hopes that the Department of Information and Communications Technology’s (DICT) partnership with private companies for the use of dark fiber in the National Broadband Plan will spur the country’s trade and commerce industry.
Pimentel, chair of the Senate Committee on Trade, Commerce and Entrepreneurship, lauded the agreement signed last week by the DICT, the National Transmission Corporation (TransCo), and the National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP), which would allow the use of dark fiber in the transmission grid.
“This is one step closer to the fulfillment of the promise for free internet in the country. The implications for trade are enormous, as they will unlock a vast market that hitherto was unable to access the benefits of electronic commerce in the country,” Pimentel said in a statement.
Dark fiber refers to the unused portion of the fiber-optics in the transmission grid.
Under the deal, the DICT would have an “indefeasible right” of use and access in certain fiber optic cores, vacant lots, tower spaces, and facilities of the NGCP.
The dark fiber spans 6,154 kilometers to cover areas in Luzon to Mindanao.
“The internet opens lines of communication between entrepreneurs and consumers, while at the same time empowers those with marketable ideas to enter the entrepreneurial ranks,” Pimentel said.
He noted that with the recent enactment of the Ease of Doing Business Act, the “dark fiber” agreement “will spur the creation of more enterprises while at the same time increasing the trade volume of existing companies.”
He also expressed hope it will lower the cost of internet access in the country.
“While not intended as a competitor to the current telcos, the existence of a free alternative should bring prices down and the quality of service up,” Pimentel said.