The Philippines’ telecoms regulator, the Department of Communications Technology (DICT), has confirmed that it will allocate around $155 million (7.7 billion Pesos) to roll out a total of 23,100 public Wi-Fi hotspots across the country, by the end of 2021.
The Free Wi-Fi For All initiative will make free Wi-Fi hotspots available at over 23,000 public places, university campuses and community centres across the country, as the Filipino government looks to fast track connectivity in the Southeast Asian nation.
“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. This is part of our commitment to DepEd, CHED and TESDA 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,” said DICT secretary Gregorio B. Honasan II.
According to a press release, the DICT will rollout 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, as it aims to bolster connectivity across the length and breadth of the country.
So far, the DICT has launched 4,248 free public WI-Fi sites across the country.
The Filipino government has made connectivity a key priority over the course of the past 18 months, with President Duterte pushing for the country’s third telco to launch as soon as possible, in order to fast track the roll out of 5G. While the country’s third telco, DITO, has now officially launched, it has been hampered by the global Covid 19 pandemic, with network equipment from China struggling to make it to delivery.