Thursday, September 20, 2007

Senate inquiry demolishes DOTC's justification for the NBN deal

This whole NBN thing, according to DOTC, is all about “security” and “savings.”All these justifications were blown away in today’s hearing (September 20) at the Senate.

When questioned by Senator Noynoy Aquino, Assistant secretary Lorenzo Formoso himself admitted that given time and resources, anybody can hack any system, including that of the NBN.

Well, the national security issue is really crazy. The truth is that government has been using private networks for its e-mail and other communications needs since time immemorial, but “security issues” was never a problem. It has never been a problem during the time of President Fidel V. Ramos, a former general who probably appreciates “national security” more than anybody else in the DOTC. Besides, if “national security” were an issue here, then wouldn’t it be riskier to entrust government’s information to a foreign state? Unless they’re saying a foreign government is trusted more than the Filipino private sector.

In our midst today are huge multinationals owning sensitive intellectual property, including patents and trade secrets worth billions of dollars greater than the Philippine GDP. Yet these MNCs never felt compelled to build their own separate fiber-optic backbone. Imagine a situation where everybody lays down fiber-optic cables for “security reasons.” Wouldn’t that be the ultimate “spaghetti sa ibaba,” underneath our soil and the seas?But private firms do have their own private and secure network, not by having their own separate physical backbone, but by buying capacities from existing privately run backbones—PLDT and Telecphil. For instance, it’s not uncommon for these huge firms to use Telecphil facilities for their Philippine operations while connecting to the PLDT backbone for their fiber-optic link to their headquarters in the US. And security has never been an issue because there are a thousand and one ways of securing them.

Senator Roxas also did a good job at demolishing the “cost justification” of the DOTC. Formoso said government will save P4 billion, but also admitted that he doesn’t know how much is the cost component for government calls outside the NBN system, meaning we are actually not going to save money at all.

In truth, it was President Arroyo herself who clarified that the bulk of those communications expenses by government are accounted for by mobile- phone calls, and government officials are going to continue using the facilities of the telcos. Recent advertisements by the DOTC indicate that government will even continue relying on existing private Internet providers despite the NBN. The DOTC says that government agencies will save through NBN’s voice-over-internet calls among themselves. That is true, but they are not saying something crucial: the government will still have to pay the telcos when it has to call outside of the NBN backbone.

And then Formoso also admitted, when questioned by Senator Zubiri, that the technology would be obsolete after ten years while we taxpayers are going to pay for it in the next 20 years!

I could only see that as this Senate hearing continues, this whole NBN deal will be in tatters. What could you expect, these whole NBN deals have always been based on myths and falsehoods.

Please see related posts
Let’s junk the NBN-CEP deals
Philippines’ NBN: government porn at broadband speed?
NBN: A backbone of waste and shame


Deany Bocobo said...

It was exhausting just watching the hearings. Where did you get the strength to post on it?? Hehe, I'm going to bed. To hell with all those jerks.

Dave Llorito said...

indeed those jerks are really tiring. hahah! but i have to post something just to be able to contribute something.