Thousands of residents in 120 areas, mostly far-flung sites in the province, stand to benefit from the “Free Wi-fi for All” project of the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) and United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).
In an interview, DICT assistant regional director Vic Vargas said on Thursday they are optimistic that by 2022, they will able to accomplish 100 percent free Wi-fi access in their target areas.
“Yes, ma-achieve yan (we can achieve that). Actually, once the back-bone is up… sariling linya na ng DICT with 2 terabytes, malalagyan natin lahat yan. (DICT’s own line with 2 terabytes, we can put it up in all areas)“ he said on the sidelines of the nationwide simultaneous switch-on ceremony for the project at the Albay Provincial Agriculture Office here.
Vargas said Republic Act 10929 or the Free Internet Access in Public Places Act of 2017 is the legal basis in providing free internet services to unserved and underserved communities across the country.
“The free Wi-fi can let the users browse the internet, upload and download photos to social media, send and receive e-mails, access videos and online references,” he added.
Vargas said the DICT allocated a PHP200-million budget for the project in Bicol.
The “Free Wi-fi for All” project values integrity and promotes responsible use of the internet for educational resources, government services and economic opportunities. It restricts sites that will violate laws and rights. The project also values user’s security and data privacy.
Myra Medinilla, a vendor from a far-flung village, said in an interview she is very happy that the government is undertaking this kind of project.
“Ay magandang balita yan, makakagamit na kami ng Wi-fi na wala kaming binabayaran. Mas madali na kami makakapag usap ng anak ko na nasa Maynila. (That’s good news, we can now use the internet without paying a provider. It will be easier for me to talk to my son who is in Manila),” she said.
Albay province is one of the five areas for the nationwide simultaneous switch-on of the Wi-fi project. (PNA)