Rollout of free internet via ‘dark fiber’ hailed

Senator Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III on Monday welcomed the agreement between the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT), the National Transmission Corporation (TransCo), and the National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP), which would enable the use of dark fiber in the transmission grid.

Dark fiber refers to the unused portion of the fiber-optics 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 is enormous, as it will unlock a vast market that hitherto was unable to access the benefits of electronic commerce in the country”, said Pimentel.

The Senator is the Chairman of the Senate Committee on Trade, Commerce, and Entrepreneurship.

Pimentel said, “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.”

The Senator noted that in conjunction with the recently signed Ease of Doing Business Act, this development will spur the creation of more enterprises while at the same time increasing the trade volume of existing companies.

Pimentel said, “I expect a bigger pie for every Filipino entrepreneur to have a slice of. This is the power of the internet which the Duterte Administration has opened for the use of every Filipino.”

The Senator also expressed hope this will be a spur to lower the price of internet access in the country.

Pimentel said, “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.”

The Philippines has often been cited as a case where consumers pay more for lower quality service of internet service providers (ISPs).

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