Press Release
November 5, 2011


Senator Edgardo J. Angara called for the swift passage of a bill creating a Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) to meet global broadband targets set by the Broadband Commission on Digital Development of the United Nations.

Angara, Chair of the Senate Committee on Science and Technology, noted that the Broadband Commission has recently agreed on a set of four new "ambitious but achievable" targets that both developed and developing countries should attain by 2015.

According to the Broadband Commission, all countries should have a national broadband policy where broadband is included in universal access definitions or strategies are outlined on how entry-level broadband services can be made more affordable.

The targets also require that in four years, 40 percent of all households in developing countries should have Internet access. The Internet penetration rate should equal 50 percent of the population.

"For the country to meaningfully participate in the ICT-driven future, we have to ensure that broadband Internet is widely available and affordable to all," said Angara, also Chair of the Congressional Commission on Science, Technology and Engineering (COMSTE).

The veteran lawmaker, author and sponsor of the measure, further explained, "A task like this isn't easy and requires close coordination between ICT stakeholders. We are already making inroads in enhancing our broadband infrastructure. But government needs to step up and create a DICT that will become the focal point of such efforts."

Studies from Nielsen show that only one out of three Filipinos--roughly 33 percent of the population--currently have access to the Internet. This is lower than figures shown for Malaysia and Singapore where 38 and 67 percent of their respective populations are able to log on to the Web.

Angara cited the IT Industry Competitiveness Index from Business Software Alliance (BSA) which ranked the Philippines 52nd out of 66 countries in terms of its capability in supporting an IT production sector.

Angara stressed, "Our competitiveness is at stake-- we lag behind our neighbors not only in setting up the necessary broadband infrastructure, but also in laying down the policy environment conducive to the growth of a full-fledged IT industry.

"We need to hasten the passage of a DICT bill so that we can catch up as quickly as possible," urged Angara. (30)

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