Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte approved a plan to build a national broadband network, which will be primarily used to host a government portal.

The president said he wants to accelerate the deployment of fibre-optic cables and wireless technologies to improve internet speeds across the country, particularly in underserved rural areas, CNN Philippines reported. The plan is for the government portal to be a one-stop shop for services for citizens.

While the National Broadband Plan (NBP) has not been finalised, cost estimates range from PHP70 billion to PHP200 billion ($1.4 billion to $4 billion). Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) Secretary Rodolfo Salalima expects the cost to be at the lower end of the range.

DICT, after an initial public consultation last year, published a working draft of the NBP on its website and is inviting comments until 24 March. Once DICT finalises the plan it will conduct a feasibility study in Q2, which will give the government a better idea of how much the network will cost and how it can pay for it.

The plan to deploy a nationwide broadband network was initiated in 2007 by the Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo administration but was canceled after allegations of corruption.