DICT targets to award 5 big contracts under nat’l broadband plan in Q1

DICT targets to award 5 big contracts under nat’l broadband plan in Q1

By Ashley Erika O. Jose, Reporter

THE DEPARTMENT of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) said it aims to award five contracts totaling  P941.85 million under the national broadband program this quarter.

“[The bidding process] should have started already,” DICT Secretary Ivan John E. Uy told reporters on the sidelines of Cybersecurity Forum 2024 on Tuesday. 

In DICT’s procurement plan for the year, both the submission of bids and contract signing for the project are scheduled for the first quarter.

The DICT has allocated P942.09 million for the program, with P731.55 million designated for capital outlays and P210.54 million for maintenance and other operating expenditures.

The department has a total allocation of P6.91 billion under the General Appropriations Act of 2024.

The national broadband plan is the department’s framework for accelerating the deployment of fiber optic cable and wireless technology to improve internet speed.

Based on this year’s procurement plan, the department is allocating a total of P641.55 million for the national fiber backbone for Visayas and Mindanao, and P50 million for the establishment of microwave radio links for Abra and Ilocos.

For the tower and site development project in the Ilocos region, around P40 million was allocated.

Additionally, P190.3 million and P20 million were allocated for the procurement of managed services for the operations of bypass infrastructure facilities in Luzon and installation materials for GovNet, which provides internet bandwidth connectivity to national government offices, respectively.

These five contracts are targeted to be conducted via competitive bidding, as indicated in its annual procurement plan.

Last year, the DICT partnered with Stellarsat Solutions, Inc. and Kacific Broadband Satellites to expand nationwide broadband connectivity.

The department said that the collaboration aims to bring equitable broadband connectivity to the Philippines, as outlined in the National Broadband Plan.

In total, the DICT has connected 438 sites in Benguet, Kalinga, Ifugao, Ilocos Norte, Quezon, and Pangasinan via a very-small-aperture terminal system.

The DICT also plans to establish up to 2,800 kilometers of dark fiber reaching parts of Mindanao by December 2024, which it said will ensure cost-effective internet connectivity for both national government agencies and local government units.

For the year, it is also targeting to establish 15,100 free Wi-Fi sites and to launch the operations of its two data centers.