DICT earmarks P7.7B in proposed 2021 budget to expand free wi-fi program
MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) disclosed Friday it has allocated P7.7 billion in its proposed budget for 2021 to provide free wi-fi in public places and state universities and colleges (SUC).
In a statement, DICT said this will be utilized to reach its target of establishing 23,100 live sites by the end of 2021.
DICT is seeking a P46.6 billion budget for 2021.
“We are aiming to provide every public school and SUC with free Internet connectivity and access to aid our students and teachers adapt to the new normal in the education sector,” DICT Secretary Gringo Honasan said as quoted in the statement.
Honasan said this is part of the agency’s commitment “to ensure the education sector’s access to broadcast, connectivity and digital security this upcoming school year while the country is still under state of public health emergency.”
In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, education will be implemented via “blended learning” where learning modules, television, radio and the internet are utilized as media of instruction.
DICT said it plans to deploy more live sites in educational institutions with 10,300 sites to be deployed in public schools and 1,804 sites to be deployed in SUCs and Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) institutions.
“Part of the planned 23,100 sites, the DICT targets to install 5,644 sites in national and local government offices, 3,300 sites in government hospitals and rural health units, 1,505 sites in public parks, plazas and other open areas, 368 sites in public libraries, and 179 sites in transport terminals,” it added.
DICT said it has so far installed 4,248 live sites which provides free wi-fi to the public as of June 30. Of the number, over 400 are installed in government hospitals and rural health units.
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