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Government wants $21 million refund on WiFi project
Presidential spokesman Harry Roque said the foreign contractor had failed to install the WiFi spots, a key component of the P1.3-billion nationwide free WiFi project.
Brett Sayes via Unsplash

Government wants $21 million refund on WiFi project

Alexis Romero (The Philippine Star) - May 11, 2021 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — The government wants a refund of the more than $21 million it paid to a foreign contractor who was supposed to install free WiFi spots in various parts of the country, Malacañang said yesterday.

Presidential spokesman Harry Roque said the foreign contractor had failed to install the WiFi spots, a key component of the P1.3-billion nationwide free WiFi project.

“We are asking for a huge amount... It’s not lower than $21,855,481.63,” Roque said at a press briefing.

“We have proven that the DICT (Department of Information and Communications Technology) can do it. In one year, the DICT succeeded in installing 500 percent more WiFi hotspots... So the money and the contract should be returned. The DICT will implement it,” he added.

Earlier this month, Roque said the government was not happy with the slow roll-out of the free WiFi project, which aims to put up 120,000 free WiFi sites around the country. He said only 10,000 sites have been set up so far.

Roque added that the DICT would investigate accusations that Speedcast, the foreign contractor tapped to import equipment for the project, had undervalued its shipments.

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