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The government’s national broadband program has the potential to be a game-changer as far as the government and private telcos providing internet services are concerned, Sen. Panfilo Lacson said Friday.

Lacson said that if the P18-billion national broadband program is completed, it will end government’s overreliance on private telcos, and even turn telcos into subscribers of the broadband program.

“According to the DICT, if we are able to finance the P18B requirement, telcos na mag-subscribe sa govt. Di na sila kailangan magtayo ng towers, antenna na lang kasi fiber na ito,” he said in his sponsorship of the Department of Information and Communications Technology’s budget for 2021.

He also said that with the broadband network, the government may earn income from private telcos that will now become its subscribers.

“If we complete the funding requirement, the private telcos will be at the mercy of government, they will be subscribers kasi fiber na ito. Wala na silang reason para hindi mag-deliver,” he said.

But as of now, Lacson said the Department of Budget and Management has provided only a measly P902 million for the program.

While the Senate and House of Representatives augmented the program’s budget, they managed to do so only by P5 billion – way short of the program’s P18-billion requirement.

Lacson said that with a P5.9-billion budget, the broadband program can cover only Metro Manila to Davao, minus Regions 1 and 2 and some island provinces.

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