Does the NBN Project makes sense?

Despite the recent announcement that the President has ordered the NBN Project to be suspended and that there are pending cases in the Ombudsman and the Supreme Court on the matter, the topic of creating a separate network for the government has drawn split impressions from people in the IT industry.

First, it would seem that the $329 million project is too costly. From copies of the contract made available to the public, that amount is divided in several ways — $194M for equipments of 300 base stations (WiMAX), 300 backbone stations, 30 IPMPLS nodes and 24,844 customer premise equipment; $118.6M for Engineering Services; $14.8M for Managed Services; and $1.9M for Training.

Second, the fact that there are already existing government controlled backbones pre-existing before this proposal, one of them is the DOST ASTI’s PREGINET.

Third, counter-arguments that the Philippines does not need any more private backbone and existing needs can be address by private telcos. PLDT and Globe have voiced out that they’ve not been given any opportunity to implement this project and stated that they each now have 98% coverage of the Philippines (population-based, not area-based).

Then, senators claiming existing mobile coverage is good enough (Mar Roxas) or that their residential DSL charges are already cheap (Noynoy Aquino) which makes the NBN Project all that redundant.

It’s also interesting to note that the idea of the National Broadband Network and the CyberEd Projects were conceptualized way back in 2001 by now retired Col. Victor Corpuz. I believe that the idea makes sense even though the cost may seem too expensive for the immediate benefits it may offer. The bigger benefits will be realized in the coming years where annual IT service cost are reduced by billions.

I’d like some of our expert readers to share their view on this. I will be guesting on ANC’s The Explainer on Tuesday to shed some light on the NBN Project. I hope to use some of your technical inputs on this.

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  • Psytrx

    I think NBN Projects does not make sense since it was not been studied that much.. and have many an explainable issues regarding the proposal and contract of this projects… although the idea of having National Broadband Network is good but the cost of it is not reasonable for us… I believe that there are Company here that can provide the NBN Projects with less cost and can provide the technical support for it at any time needed, and in addition can also provide jobs for all Filipino IT experts in the country….

  • Let’s make an alternative network design. What are the stated requirements?

    What applications need the bandwidth of WiMAX?

  • How can the government justify this project??? It is much better if this project will be funded by private firms.

  • Here is my view,

    On deployment,

    We are compose islands, google had a problem in the deployment of wifi, how much more a company who does not know much of our terrain.

    Are they safe from the Lefties? as we all know that they are burning cell sites.

    On Network,

    NBN is good as it will serve as a local loop and a local WAN connecting each and every government agencies.

    On this way all electronic transaction and computerization project can now be connected and would now be enforced.

    But due to the nature of a Wimax, which can be compared to the SMART Bro is not as reliable as wired.

    Disruption and intermittence is inevitable when it rains or when the weather is not fit for the optimal operation of a point to point connection of a Microwave Antennae. It will definitel fail.

    I know somewhere that we already have a government sponsored local loop that we can use. why not use that.

    Or the Intranetwork they created during voting modernization which based on the news that it uses VSAT and fiber lines.

    On Security,

    We cannot exclude the possibility that it can be hacked and used to untowards digital terrorism, such as but not limited to spamming, Hi jacking and other cybercrimes and fraud.

    But this more prone in social hacking as some might provide access to their peers or kamaganak and would serve as a free internet for surfing more friendster, you tube and porn.

    Also the possibility of a local terror attack as they will just burn down all the relay station.

    Moreover government manage network are statistically easily hackable as what happen to a way back story of a hacked admin who reported it to GMA 7 site.

  • sherwin

    although i really believe that somehow, the government branches/agencies should really be interconnected, i don’t imagine that they’ll seriously talk about building it on their own, infrastructure wise, using our tax money.

    it’ll just be the next failed projects

  • andresB

    Kung ang tawag sa NBN project kung sakaling ito ay sa AHI o sa Amsterdam inaward ay NBN project pa rin,ang masasabi ko ay may katuturan at napakahalaga ng proyektong ito hindi lamang sa gobyerno kundi para sa kapakanan ng sambayanang Pilipino.
    Kung ang desisyon ng supreme court ay hindi legal ang kontrata at kung may sapat na ebidensya ang senado at mapapatunayan nila na mali ang technology na gagamitin, manner kung paano iooperate ito, funding scheme para dito, kung may overprice ang kontrata, at kung may anomalyang nangyari na dahilan upang maging disadvantageous ito sa gobyerno, nararapat na kumilos para ibasura ang ZTE project, hindi ang NBN project.

  • I wouldn’t accept any security system from the Chinese Government period. They always insist on using their secret, proprietary encryption that most likely has backdoors and holes (why would they keep the source code a secret?). Contrast this with AES and 3DES which are extremely secure, publicly published open source encryptions that can be verified by any outsider as having no hidden backdoor or security hole.