Electricity Company of Benguet Province in Northern Philippines, BENECO signed a memorandum of agreement with The National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) and the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) to deliver fiber optic internet services. The tripartite agreement will ensure the deployment of fiber optic cables using the infrastructure of the electric company.
The agreement between DICT, NTC and Beneco are to roll out a pilot national broadband network (NBN) project in Baguio for government agencies and internet service. The goal is to ensure the delivery of broadband services in the region. The National Broadband Plan in the Philippines aims to deliver high-speed broadband services not only to the urban population but also to the rural public. This policy will reduce the digital divide between the cities and villages. With this aim in mind, government agencies have been working together for deployment of infrastructure.
The Benguet Electric Cooperative, Inc. (BENECO) is located in Northern Luzon in the Cordillera Administrative Region, which is about 4 hours drive from Manila. BENECO is registered as a non-stock, non-profit service-oriented entity and the sole franchise to operate an electric light and power service in the City of Baguio and Benguet province for a period of fifty years by the National Electrification Commission. The franchise area of BENECO comprises the 13 towns of Benguet Province composing of 140 barangays and 129 barangays in the City of Baguio for a total of 269 barangays.BENECO is composed of 11 districts, six districts in Baguio City and five districts in Benguet Province.
Benguet is a landlocked province of the Philippines located in the southern tip of the Cordillera Administrative Region in the island of Luzon. Its capital is La Trinidad. The highland province is known as the Salad Bowl of the Philippines due to its huge production of upland vegetables
Electric company’s infrastructures such as electric poles can be used to install fiber optic cables. Aerial fiber optic cables can be installed on electric poles. Care shall be taken to keep enough distance between electric wires and fiber optic cables, in case the fiber optic cable has a metallic element in it. This is to avoid electrical accidents that may occur due to faulty cables. Non-metallic fiber optic aerial cables are preferred to avoid electrical accidents.
The signing was done at the Dumol Hall of Beneco. The agreement aims to ensure widespread availability of high-speed and affordable broadband in remote and rural areas of the country through the electric cooperatives.
Prior to the current agreement with BENECO, the DICT and TransCo had signed agreement National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP) for the use of spare optical fiber to speed up the implementation of the government’s NBN. NGCP operates Philippine’s power transmission network under its concession agreement with the government. TransCo owns the dark fiber.
The agreement to use the dark fiber of TransCo will save around 50 billion Peso. The agreement was initially for the rollout broadband services to government offices and agencies and other public places. A separate agreement with the National Electrification Administration and the electric cooperatives would bring connectivity to the households.