Free Wi-Fi rollout increased by 500% in 2020

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    THE Department of Information and Communications Technology utilized around 93.89% of its Free Wi-Fi for All Program budget for 2019 to put up 4,305 live sites last year, more than double the total number of sites deployed throughout the country from 2016 to 2019.

    “This program (Free Wi-Fi for All) is instrumental to fulfilling the marching orders given by the President to DICT, upon our assumption last July 2019, which includes connecting every Filipino to each other, to their government, and to the world. So, from Day One, we immediately went into analyzing factors that may speed-up the implementation and applied the needed reforms,” Information Secretary Gregorio Honasan said.

    The overall utilization rate of the department’s total 2019 budget is now approximately 80 percent as of December 31, 2020.

    The availability of the 2019 national budget was extended until December 31, 2020 by President Dutertethrough Republic Act No. 11464due to the delay in the approval of the 2019 national budget and the remaining unobligated funds of the entire national government under the 2019 General Appropriations Act, among others.

    From 2016 to 2019, the FW4A deployed 3,251 live sites. For 2020 alone, the DICT put up an additional 4,305 live sites for a total of 7,556 active live sites as of December 28, 2020.

    The Free Wi-Fi for All Program has been continually reevaluated and redesigned to address its major issues that include the procurement of some crucial network components and the difficulty of some suppliers to deliver their contractual obligations.