Better Access and Connectivity (BEACON) Activity
Fostering Economic Growth Through Better and More Reliable ICT in the Philippines
Nathan, a Cadmus Company, is implementing the United States Agency for International Development’s (USAID) five-year (2021-2026), US$33.3 million Better Access and Connectivity (BEACON) Activity in the Philippines.
The project promotes economic growth by improving the country’s secure and transparent access to information and communications technology (ICT) infrastructure. Leveraging existing innovation and investment in the Philippines, the project will help enhance the country’s digital ecosystem by focusing on:
- Institutional capacity;
- policy, regulatory, and process improvements;
- and underlying systems, infrastructure, and interoperability—all undertaken with intensive private sector and multi-stakeholder engagement.
The result will be a stronger and more competitive telecommunication market and digital economy which is needed to accelerate economic growth and regional competitiveness.
Nathan, through BEACON, supports both the Philippines’ national strategies focused on the digital economy as well as the U.S. government’s goal to advance a free and open Indo-Pacific region through enhanced connectivity. The BEACON Activity is in line with USAID’s Digital Strategy seeking to strengthen the Philippine digital ecosystem’s openness, inclusiveness, and security.
Under BEACON, Nathan works with a wide range of Philippine government agencies, led by the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT), to address constraints in ICT development while facilitating regulatory processes that engage a variety of stakeholders. These critical stakeholders include small and medium enterprises, civil society organizations, business institutions, consumers, and academia.
BEACON is implemented across three (3) key components:
Objective 1: Improve the Quality of ICT Infrastructure
BEACON accelerates the implementation of the Philippines’ National Broadband Plan, which aims to improve telecoms infrastructure that will bridge the country’s digital divide. The project enhances the institutional capacity of the DICT and the National Telecommunications Commission, as well as assists the government in automation and digitization efforts to improve efficiency and services. BEACON boosts private sector investments to improve the country’s internet service and other digital infrastructure. The project also supports the deployment of the newest global wireless standard, known as 5G, to promote interoperability and standardization. BEACON also supports community networks to increase low-cost internet access for underserved communities.
Objective 2: Strengthen the Enabling Environment & Regulatory Governance
BEACON supports the development of overarching roadmaps for effective policy and regulatory action and reform. The project coordinates with government counterparts to help advance better ICT and logistics governance regimes, as well as amplify improvements in regulatory governance to sustain the value of competition in the ICT sector.
Objective 3: Reinforce Cybersecurity Protections
BEACON enhances the cybersecurity capacity across Philippine government agencies, as well as in the private sector. Activities include operationalizing a Cybersecurity Workforce Framework that, in part, aims to increase the number of professionals with Certified Information Systems Security Professionals (CISSP) certification. The project also aims to increase adoption of international best practices on cybersecurity, particularly the U.S. National Institute for Standards and Technology (NIST) Cybersecurity Framework. BEACON employs a multi-stakeholder, open, transparent, and consensus-based process to develop standards in cybersecurity protection.
BEACON collaborates closely with other USAID projects, including Regulatory Reform Support for National Development (RESPOND), Deliver Effective Government for Competitiveness and Inclusive Growth (DELIVER), and Strengthening Private Enterprises for the Digital Economy (SPEED). Implemented by Nathan Associates, Inc., the project team’s expertise spans across telecommunications, law/legal analysis, public policy analysis, engineering, economic research, and cybersecurity.