USTDA supports enhanced internet access in PHL

By Francis Allan L. Angelo

The U.S. Trade and Development Agency (USTDA) awarded a grant to Filipino company Responsible Internet Sustainability Effort, Inc. (RISE) on May 21, 2024, for a feasibility study aimed at improving internet service delivery in the Philippines, particularly in underserved areas.

Accoridng to a press briefing document, the study will advance RISE’s efforts to expand carrier-neutral internet exchange infrastructure through its GetaFIX business unit. RISE has selected California-based Connectivity Capital LLC to conduct the study.

The grant agreement between USTDA and RISE was signed at the 6th Indo-Pacific Business Forum, where Philippine President Ferdinand Romualdez Marcos Jr. delivered keynote remarks.

“USTDA partners with companies like RISE to improve access to affordable and reliable internet connectivity for underserved communities in the Indo-Pacific. Planning the deployment of innovative technology is part of our strategy to promote inclusive economic growth,” USTDA Director Enoh T. Ebong said in a press statement.

“USTDA is pleased to launch this project at the Indo-Pacific Business Forum. It is just one demonstration of our unwavering commitment to promote trade, investment, and economic cooperation with the Philippines.”

The expansion of GetaFIX internet exchanges will reduce the distance data must travel to reach users, enhancing both speed and reliability, thereby improving user experience and connectivity among Philippine internet service providers.

The project is expected to drive demand for new data centers, housing internet exchange infrastructure, and creating new business opportunities for U.S. companies to partner with the Philippines in its digital transition.

“We’re thrilled and honored that USTDA would choose to support GetaFIX, its members and partners in expanding to more communities,” said Rhett Jones, Founder and CEO of RISE and Founder of GetaFIX.

“Having grown to the Philippines’ largest internet exchange already, GetaFIX is ready to make an even bigger impact and keep living our motto ‘when we share everyone wins.'”

“The U.S. government is committed to supporting the Philippine government on its digital development journey,” said U.S. Ambassador to the Philippines MaryKay L. Carlson.

“This grant from USTDA will support efforts to bring affordable connectivity to remote communities, enabling access to the digital economy for every Filipino.”

USTDA’s study aligns with the Biden-Harris Administration priorities such as the Partnership for Global Infrastructure and Investment, the Digital Connectivity and Cybersecurity Partnership, and the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework for Prosperity Project Preparation Facility.


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