The United States government, through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), officially began a new initiative to boost digital connectivity in the Philippines on October 28.

Better Access and Connectivity (BEACON) is a five-year, P1.65 billion ($33 million) initiative that would boost economic development through improved information and communications technology (ICT), therefore bridging the digital divide in the Philippines, said USAID Philippines Acting Mission Director Sean Callahan in a presser released by the Public Affairs of the U.S. Embassy in Manila.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the urgent need for expanded digital infrastructure and broadband connectivity,” said Callahan. 

“We are pleased to partner with the Philippine government, private sector, and other organizations to accelerate the country’s economic growth and regional competitiveness by supporting a stronger, more competitive digital ecosystem,” he added.

Through the BEACON project, USAID will help improve the Philippines’ ICT and logistics infrastructure; strengthen the regulatory, business, and innovation environment; and bolster cybersecurity.

To help bridge the digital divide in the Philippines, BEACON will assist the government in automation and digitization efforts, and support community networks to expand low-cost internet access for underserved communities.

BEACON supports the Philippines’ national strategies and the U.S. government’s goal to advance a free and open Indo-Pacific region through enhanced digital connectivity.

The United States government has been a key development champion in the Philippines for six decades, working with individuals, communities, and the government to improve everyday lives.

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