DICT to deploy more free wifi sites in VisMin this year


    The Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) is set to deploy more free Wi-Fi sites in Visayas and Mindanao this year.

    DICT’s Visayas Cluster 2 targets to provide more free Wi-Fi sites in 267 targeted barangays for 2021. Of the total, 70 barangays are under the Managed Information System-Geographical Isolated Disadvantageous Areas and will be provided with free internet using very small aperture terminal technology.

    Mindanao Cluster 2 is also set to launch more free Wi-Fi sites in the coming months, in addition to the 164 sites deployed in Bukidnon, Camiguin, Lanao del Norte, Misamis Occidental, Misamis Oriental, Iligan City and Cagayan de Oro.

    As of March 10, a total of 8,170 free Wi-Fi sites have been deployed across the country, around 5,000 of which were installed during the term of DICT Secretary Gregorio Honasan II.

    “Considering our current situation, we will further double and even triple our efforts to provide connectivity to all Filipinos to help them adopt and thrive in the new normal through various opportunities found online,” Honasan said.

    Republic Act 10929, or the Free Internet Access in Public Places Act, mandates the DICT to oversee the deployment of free Wi-Fi sites in public places nationwide.

    For 2020, DICT put up additional 4,305 live sites, as compared to the 3,251 live sites deployed for the period 2016 to 2019, with the total active live sites now at 7,556.

    The Free Wi-Fi for All Program (FW4A) has been continually re-evaluated and redesigned to address major issues that include the procurement of some crucial network components and the difficulty of some suppliers to deliver their contractual obligations, DICT said.

    As a result, DICT added, it managed to utilize around 93.89 percent of its FW4A budget for 2019. The overall utilization rate of DICT’s total 2019 budget is now approximately 80 percent as end-December last year.