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Government to spend P3B for free wi-fi

MANILA, Philippines - The government may spend nearly P3 billion for its nationwide free wi-fi project, an official of the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) said.

DICT Undersecretary for special concerns Eliseo Rio Jr. told reporters that the department had already secured more than 300 sites nationwide for its free wi-fi project.

The DICT targets to provide free wi-fi internet in 13,000 public sites across 145 cities and 1,489 municipalities through a project called PipolKonek.

Rio said the investment needed to fund the 13,000 sites is “almost P3 billion.”

He said the agency aims to reach the target before the end of the year.

The DICT earlier said the project dubbed PipolKonek is intended to promote digital literacy among Filipinos.

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“Launching the said project will facilitate the development of an ICT-enabled nation geared toward sustainable socio-economic growth,” the DICT said.

In line with providing free internet access to the public, the DICT together with the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) launched the first phase of its EDSA free wi-fi project Monday.

The first stage of the project aims to provide high speed internet services project along the 24 km stretch of EDSA, which covers all 13 stations of the Metro Rail Transit line 3 (MRT3), from North Avenue to Taft, as well as the street level of EDSA from Guadalupe to Taft Avenue.

DICT said it expects to complete the first two stages of the EDSA free wi-fi project before President Dutuerte’s State of the Nation Address(SONA) in July.

“The second stage will cover EDSA from Cubao to North Avenue and from Guadalupe to Taft Avenue to be operational before the President’s SONA on July 24, 2017,” DICT said.

“This will make the street level of EDSA running alongside the MRT3 rails a continuous high speed wi-fi zone from Taft to North Avenue at Quezon City,” it added.

The DICT department  said the third and last stage of the EDSA free wi-fi project would cover the entire 24 km stretch of EDSA, outside the reach of MRT3 from MOA to Balintawak. This is set to be completed by the end of August 2017.

DICT Secretary Rodolfo Salalima said the agency aims to replicate the EDSA free wi-fi projects in other areas of the country.

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