Information and Communications Technology Secretary Gregorio Honasan said the DICT aims to provide free WiFi in approximately 104,000 public sites in the country by 2022, a significant jump from the agency’s previous target of 20,000 sites.
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DICT ramps up free WiFi hotspots
Richmond Mercurio (The Philippine Star) - October 1, 2019 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) is ramping up by five times its target free WiFi hotspots nationwide by the end of the Duterte administration.

Information and Communications Technology Secretary Gregorio Honasan said the DICT aims to provide free WiFi in approximately 104,000 public sites in the country by 2022, a significant jump from the agency’s previous target of 20,000 sites.

Honasan said the development of more free WiFi hotspots across the country would be done through different strategies, such as partnership with the private sector and tapping satellite broadband services.

“With the National Broadband Program as the foundation in place, the DICT can successfully roll out its free WiFi Internet Access in Public Places Program – another flagship project of the department – which will provide access in all government establishments, public education institutions, public hospitals and health centers, public transportation terminals and ports, and other public places,” he said.

“Critical to our transformation is a national broadband backbone that will deliver fast internet connection to 104,000 access points all over the country. This is envisioned to give free WiFi services to about 25 million users in unserved areas of our country,” Honasan said.

DICT Undersecretary for operations Eliseo Rio said last June when he was serving as the agency’s acting secretary that the plan is to have in place 10,000 sites that are capable of providing free internet access nationwide by next year and then double the number to 20,000 before the term of President Duterte ends by 2022.

“Please note that Secretary Honasan is asking for P36 billion (budget) for 2020 and around that much for 2021 and 2022. I was working on the budget that was given to us since 2016, which averages at P5 billion a year,” Rio said when asked about the DICT’s new and more aggressive target.

The DICT has earlier requested P36.3 billion budget for next year to facilitate the programs and projects on digital connectivity and access, digital government and literacy, and cybersecurity. 

The Pipol Konek–Free WiFi Internet Access in Public Places project of the DICT targets to accelerate the government’s efforts in enhancing internet accessibility for Filipinos in hopes of bolstering economic, social, and educational opportunities and bridging the growing digital divide.

Through the project, the government hopes that thousands of schools, colleges and universities, hospitals, libraries, parks, plazas, and transportation such as airports and seaport terminals will be able to enjoy free internet connectivity and allow many Filipinos access to a means of communications and source of information and opportunities. 

As of end-May, the DICT has managed to build 2,442 free public WiFi sites covering 17 regions, 73 provinces, and 662 municipalities across the country.

Last week, the DICT partnered with the the local government of San Juan for the rollout of 35 internet hotspots with 400 Mbps bandwidth within the city.

“Pursuant to RA 10929 and the President’s marching order, we are strengthening our efforts in the roll-out of the program through partnerships with LGUs such as here in San Juan. We are looking forward to installing more Wi-Fi sites not just here in San Juan but in many more cities and municipalities of the country in the coming years,” Honasan said last week.

DEPARTMENT OF INFORMATION AND COMMUNICATIONS TECHNOLOGY FREE WIFI
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