NEA urges power co-ops to embrace broadband opportunities

By Victor V. Saulon – February 17, 2019 | 11:14 pm
from Business World

National Electrification Administration (NEA)

 

THE National Electrification Administration (NEA) ordered electric cooperatives to form partnerships with cable television service providers and telecommunication companies, and be ready for opportunities from the government’s national broadband plan (NBP).

“Interconnectivity will open doors of opportunity for our people. You should not allow the issues between you to drag the NBP down. The greater good is (more important) than what besets you,” NEA Administrator Edgardo R. Masongsong said in a statement on Sunday.

He was referring to the issues between electric cooperatives (ECs) and cable TV operators, which he said were indirectly affecting the implementation of the NBP in rural areas.

Mr. Masongson called on the parties to “approach the issues with eyes open to the opportunities the NBP offers, and with the good of the greater number in mind.”

On Aug. 17, 2018, the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT), NEA and the Philippine Rural Electric Cooperatives Association, Inc. (Philreca) entered into a memorandum of understanding “to realize the objectives of the NBP, including but not limited to the co-use of fiber optic cables.”

Under the agreement, the NEA and Philreca will coordinate with the electric cooperatives regarding the project. The DICT will be allowed to access the ECs’ existing nodes so that it may link with other government agencies.

On June 8, 2018, the DICT, in its tripartite agreement with the National Grid Corp. of the Philippines (NGCP) and the National Transmission Corp. (TransCo), was given the right to use these firms’ dark fiber network.

Mr. Masongsong made the call during the NBP forum at the Grand Meng Seng Hotel in Davao City on Feb. 15. During the event, DICT Acting Secretary Eliseo M. Rio, Jr. said the collaboration would not only advance the program, but would also “benefit all parties and stakeholders.”

Mr. Rio called for the “convergence” of all industry stakeholders, including the local cable television operators, electric cooperatives and telecommunication companies, not only to settle existing concerns among themselves, but to create more opportunities to help the government realize the goal of “inclusivity in the access to interconnectivity.”

“With the NBP, we hope to create a new class of OFWs, not the kind who need to leave the country for jobs abroad. Soon, as online trade and businesses flourish along with English language teachers for our Asian neighbors, Online Filipino Workers will rise and contribute more to the economy,” he said.