PHL gov’t partners with Facebook to offer faster internet

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The Philippine government is partnering with Facebook to provide faster internet via the Luzon Bypass Infrastructure (LBI) project, effectively making it a third major player in the telecoms industry.

The Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) and the Bases Conversion Development Authority (BCDA) signed an agreement with EDGE a.k.a. Facebook to build and operate submarine cable landing stations in Luzon, the first not to be owned by either of the other two major telecoms players in the country.

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The Luzon project will pave the way to building an ultra high-speed Internet backbone for the entire country by the third quarter of 2019 where Internet speed can go up to 100 Mbps.

BCDA will build the LBI made up of two cable landing stations that are connected by a 250-kilometer long cable network corridor, one in Baler Aurora and another in Poro Point, San Fernando, La Union.

Facebook will construct and operate a submarine cable system that will land in the cable stations on the east and west coasts of Luzon. This cable link will provide direct access from the Luzon grid to Internet hubs in the United States and Asia.

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Facebook will also provide the Philippine government with a bandwidth of at least 2 million Mbps (or 2 Tbps) which is more than the present capacity of either Globe or PLDT, according to DICT OIC-Secretary Eliseo M. Rio.

Upon its completion, the LBI will be turned over by BCDA to DICT who will operate the LBI and maintain the related facilities and provide last mile connectivity in the Philippines for a period of 25 years.

Under the project, the social media giant Facebook will be the first party to use the infrastructure, thereby benefitting millions of internet users with faster connectivity.

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Secretary Fortunato T. de la Peña disclosed that under this agreement, the Pacific Light Cable Network, a trans-Pacific fiber optic submarine cable system managed by EDGE, will be provided a “terrestrial bypass route” across Luzon through
infrastructure to be built by the BCDA. The cable will enter and exit the country through government cable landing stations in Baler, Aurora and San Fernando, La Union, respectively. This bypass route will provide diversity and redundancy to the usual route of submarine cables crossing the Pacific.

DICT will use part of this bandwidth capacity for all its internet connectivity programs like the Domestic Wideband Information Network (DWIN) where all government agencies and offices down to the barangays, will be connected to very fast and free internet access.

This will bring government on-line services like healthcare, education, trade, employment and job opportunities, social welfare, etc., to even the most remote areas of the country. This will enable cashless transactions between citizens and government that would eliminated corruption.

It will be used in compliance to RA10929 or the “Free Internet Access in Public Places Act” where DICT plans to install more than 250,000 Wifi Access Points nationwide in provincial and municipal capitol and parks, government schools and SUC, hospitals, bus and train stations, airports and piers, etc. In these places, our citizens will experience fast world-class internet access at no charge.

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