NBN-ZTE cannot be THE national broadband we need

Ricky Carandang, who had eyebags by the time he wrapped up ANC’s coverage of the six-and-a-half hour marathon hearing of the Senate blue ribbon committee, has an interesting take on what may happen in the next few days.

Sounds kinda logical but the Comelec chairman did not fly out the country in a mukhang-guilty fashion. Yes, he will suffer a truly regrettable public record at the close of his career. He is hated by the people for botching the elections twice, among many other things, and now this… Yes, he deserves to be impeached and brought to the Senate for trial over the serious allegations that have brought to light in the NBN-ZTE controversy.

But what irks even the most loyal and most diehard Arroyo supporters is how and why Mike Arroyo continues to drag the entire administration at every possible moment. The people hate both mister and her madame several times, nay, gazillion times more than they detest Abalos.

On the tech side of the issue, I think Yugatech is justified in bewailing the ignorance of our lawmakers on the project. I agree with him that we need a broadband network. It is really important and countries such as Singapore plan to have one soon. Australia, according to one study, obtained immense benefits from their own broadband network.

That is precisely what the Senate hopes to enlighten the senators themselves and the nation as well. Do we need it? Do we need it so badly that we are ready to obtain more than $300-million in new debts to the Chinese government? Is the ZTE contract truly beneficial to the people? Aren’t there other, cheaper ways of setting it all up?

I can’t believe that the ZTE is the best deal we could get now. True, we live in an archipelagic country and this may be a major factor in the huge bill for a national broadband network, but since technology is getting faster and cheaper at the same time, we might as well look for the truly best deal. There must be other options that are more favorable to the Philippines and that should be protected from the government officials and their relatives who salivate for more money at our expense.

The Computer Professionals’ Union stresses that the biggest stumbling block to attaining technological progress — including a graft-free, pro-people national broadband network — is not the Senate. It is the kind of government that Arroyo leads and the technocrats who appeared in the Senate today doggedly support.

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