Nat'l Broadband Plan: Faster, more accessible internet in 2-3 years

enablePagination: false
maxItemsPerPage: 10
maxPaginationLinks: 10

Children play computer games at an internet cafe in Tondo, Manila.

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, June 24) — With the internet becoming more of a necessity than a luxury for some, the government is eyeing to make it faster and more accessible - even in far-flung areas - in two to three years' time.

The Information and Communications Technology Department (DICT) launched the National Broadband Plan (NBP) on Friday, which will serve as the "blueprint in the acceleration of the deployment of fiber optic cables and wireless technologies."

"Given the socio-economic benefits that broadband brings, I believe that it is imperative that investments in open, pervasive, inclusive, affordable, and trusted information infrastructures or infostructures should be prioritized," DICT Secretary Rodolfo Salalima said.

READ: Faster speeds, better internet access in 2017 for laggard Philippines: government

President Rodrigo Duterte approved the NBP on March 6 in a cabinet meeting, emphasizing the need for faster connection in the country.

READ: Duterte approves national broadband program - Cabinet secretary

At present, the Philippines has the lowest average internet connection speed among select Asia-Pacific countries at 4.5 megabits per second (Mbps), according to a report released in March by U.S.-based content delivery network Akamai Technologies, Inc.

This is six times slower compared to South Korea, which has the fastest average speed globally, with 26.1 Mbps.

READ: PH slowest internet in Asia-Pacific, but there is hope – report

The NBP aims to provide at least 10 Mbps of internet download speed by 2020 in a price affordable to Filipinos.

Data from the International Communications Union in 2016 shows only 44 million, or 43.5 percent of Filipinos, have access to the internet.

To provide new infrastructure and services, "one or several public-private partnership (PPP) agreements" may be necessary, according to the NBP.

READ: Cell towers, frequencies to blame for slow Internet — gov't

Aside from faster internet, the government also launched the National Government Portal to serve as a "one-stop gateway" to consolidate government transactions, including passport and driver's license applications.

However, Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano said in May that in order to expedite passport application and release, the Foreign Affairs Department may have to scrap the online application as it takes around three months for a person to schedule an appointment.

READ: Cayetano on being DFA chief: No 'microphone diplomacy'

Other than transactions, the portal will also serve as an "access point for government data" to bring "important government information to citizens' fingertips."

President Duterte passed an Executive Order on the Freedom of Information for the Executive Department on July 2016, less than a month in his office.

The NBP also mandates government to reform existing policies and regulations related to the information and communication sector.

This includes the possibility of requiring a Congressional franchise to operate a telecommunications network.

CNN Philippines' Rex Remitio contributed to this report.