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Home Sections Education & Technology The Broadband-ZTEgate Scandal Shows Not-so-Broad Mind of Filipino Leaders
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Sunday, 03 August 2008 12:13

The Broadband-ZTEgate Scandal Shows Not-so-Broad Mind of Filipino Leaders and their Delusion of a Filipino Borderless World (Part II of a series on the Broadband Industry, Internet and Bandwidth)


The aborted (and now-resurrected?) deal for a national broadband project with a Chinese company showed – and is still showing – the lack of broadmindedness among the Filipino national leaders, especially the First Couple. This narrow-mindedness borders on a delusion of what can be called a “Filipino Borderless World (FBW).”

 

The first fact is that almost all of the Filipino national leaders – including the members of the political opposition – never argued (against the deal with the ZTE) that China is the wrong kind of supplier for a state-of-the-art broadband technology. Why? The Chinese broadband network, including its information-technology (IT) apparatus, is all geared to maintain security and the continued dominance by the ruling junta of the world’s biggest country, population-wise. In short, what the ZTE broadband-technology executives could have done is to emulate the restrictive IT system in place in the People’s Republic of China, where all people have limited access – because of state security concerns – to the Internet.

 

The Philippine national government should have asked the assistance (in the fields of technology and finance) of the Overseas-Filipino communities in doing  the national broadband network (NBN) project. In fact, this website published this article that tells about the plan of some Overseas-Filipino leaders to offer an alternative to the NBN project – as part of the economic platform for an OFW-led political party being organized for the 2010 elections. The hyperlink for what is the first article of this series:

OFWs Offer an Alternative to NBN-ZTEgate Project

 

The second fact is that the Filipino national leaders are actually putting the cart before the horse, to use an oft-quoted cliché. The national leadership wants to put up a nationwide broadband system for government agencies, so as to complement the private and commercial broadband networks in place. But it does not address the reality that not even one-tenth of all Filipino public and private high schools is computerized and linked to the Internet. Many of the less-than five-percent of Filipino students (five out of 100 elementary pupils) who finish high school and go to college are computer illiterate. And yet the Philippine government is devoting scarce public funds to pork barrel and other wasteful practices such as foreign junkets instead of helping for instance the Ayala Foundation USA project, GILAS (Gearing Up Internet Literacy and Access for Students).

 

The Philippines – especially its educational institutions and IT industry – is getting left behind by the industrialized world and the emerging economic Tigers of Asia and the Middle East. Perhaps the national leaders of the Philippines should read this book about the Internet, broadband technology and bandwidths. The book is, Who Controls the Internet?: Illusions of a Borderless World by Jack Goldsmith and Tim Wu.

 

We will discuss in the future an article written by Tim Wu, a professor at the Columbia University’s Law School, the topics of which could be major importance for the Philippines and for this series.

 

(To be continued . . .)

Editor’s Note: To read again Part I of this series, please click on this link,

OFWs Offer an Alternative to NBN-ZTEgate Project  # # #



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Last Updated on Monday, 12 January 2009 14:41
 

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