For a disaster-prone country, Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) Governor Benjamin E. Diokno said financial institutions, especially those in rural areas, should invest in satellite technology such as high-speed terminals. small opening (VSAT) to be able to restore operations immediately. after a misfortune.
“With better access to satellite broadband services, financial institutions can improve their disaster recovery plans as part of their resilience strategy. They will also be able to set up more access points, such as light branch operations, ATMs and cash agents in underserved areas,” Diokno said Tuesday, March 22.
BSP supported Executive Order No. 127 which was issued in March 2021 to expand Internet connectivity through satellite services, which will improve Internet connectivity in community areas, especially in remote areas.
The EO Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR) were also issued in September 2021 by the Department of Information and Communications to guide banks, fintech companies and other financial industry entities in the use of satellite technology for their operations.
Diokno used as an example the Cantilan Bank (CANBNK) in Mindanao which set up a VSAT which enabled the rural bank to restore its online connectivity and ATM operations in the city of Siargao after Typhoon Odette in January last. A VSAT is a small ground station for transmitting or receiving data over a satellite communication network.
CANBNK Executive Vice President Tanya Hotchkiss said VSAT connectivity has helped the rural bank’s network redundancy measures and served as an emergency backup for its Del Carmen and Dapa branches in the city of Siargao which were hit by the recent typhoon.
Diokno said BSP is “optimistic that with EO 127 and other market-enhancing policy reforms, satellite broadband services will become more accessible and affordable, which will further strengthen the ‘digital financial inclusion in the country’.
The BSP has proposed that under the EO IRR, banks or a consortium of banks in partnership with local financial service providers be allowed to set up their own satellite broadband for digital transactions or without agency.
EO allows non-empowered but registered Internet service providers, ISPs and value-added service providers to directly access satellite systems to build broadband facilities. There are 14 satellites covering the Philippines.
Diokno said the EO encourages competition, more investment in the satellite broadband market and will reduce the cost of internet services in the country. Banks with their own satellites will have the ability to reach unserved and underserved areas through digital financial services and improve remittances, bill payments and transaction account opening.
Internet connectivity is recognized as a key enabler of financial and economic inclusion as financial transactions and services shift to online platforms.
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