(File photo)

MANILA – The Luzon Bypass Infrastructure Project (LBIP) is seen to be online by next year to boost the government’s network backbone and reduce reliance on private sector-owned data centers, an official of the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) said on Thursday.

In a Laging Handa briefing, DICT Assistant Secretary Anna Mae Yu Lamentillo said the LBIP is one of the “priority projects” under the Marcos administration.

“Luzon Bypass Infrastructure will be online by next year, so we expect government internet capacity to increase by 50 times, and marami pa po tayong projects (and we still have many other projects),” Lamentillo said.

The LBIP is a 240-kilometer fiber line that will connect government-owned cable landing stations (CLS) in Baler, Aurora, and in Poro Point, La Union -- with repeater stations at 50-km intervals.

Through a Landing Party Agreement signed among the DICT, the Bases Conversion and Development Authority (BCDA), and Facebook, the latter will be allowed to use the LBIP in exchange for providing the Philippine government with a spectrum equivalent to at least 2 million Megabits per second (Mbps) -- 50 times the current government capacity of 40,000 Mbps -- through its submarine cable.

The DICT intends to welcome other submarine cable providers to fully use the LBIP.

“We welcome all kinds of technologies that will help solve our problems and disparity as far as access to connectivity is concerned,” she said.

The Marcos administration, she said, aims to expand the previous administration’s “Build, Build, Build” program by putting an emphasis on developing the country’s digital infrastructure.

“We feel and believe that there will be drastic improvements as early as next year as far as internet connectivity is concerned,” she said.

To date, she said the DICT is in talks with the Department of Education, the Civil Service Commission and the Department for Migrant Workers on digitalizing government transactions.

“We want to make sure na mararamdaman po ng ating mga kababayan iyong pagbabago as far as government service is concerned, na hindi na po nila kailangan pumila (We want to make sure that Filipinos will see change as far as government service is concerned, that there won’t be a need to queue),” she said.

She added that other government departments and agencies are already working on their own digitalization in compliance with President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr.’s mandate to remove red tape and harmonize government data.

“I just want to assure everyone that the task force has already been formed and we are already working on it and in fact, we will update the President on the plans for the digitalization of the contracts,” she said. (PNA)