DICT needs P1.2B for nationwide free Wi-Fi

September 14, 2019

THE Department of Information and Communications and Technology (DICT) is allocating another P1.2 billion in 2020 to put up new Wi-Fi hotspots nationwide.

This was included in the report of the DICT submitted to Congress during the budget deliberations  to provide Filipinos with free and fast Internet connectivity.

The amount is on top of the P1.2 billion earmarked this year to build additional access points where Filipinos may freely connect to the Internet via their mobile devices.

House Appropriations Committee vice chairperson  Makati City Rep. Luis Campos said in a report submitted to Congress, the DICT  has  installed password-free Wi-Fi hotspots “in 2,330 sites covering all 17 regions across 73 provinces in over 640 municipalities and cities” as of April 1.

According to Campos, the new funding for the “Free Internet Wi-Fi Connectivity in Public Places” project is included in the DICT budget in the proposed P4.1-trillion General Appropriations Act for 2020.

“Money for the project is being sourced from the Free Public Internet Access Fund,” Campos said.

Managed by the DICT, the fund is being sustained by spectrum user fees collected by the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC), Campos said.

Campos is author of House Bill 3563 that seeks to grant the NTC broad new powers to compel the country’s telecommunications sector to deliver superior Internet services to the public under pain of severe administrative monetary penalties.

To improve Internet services, the NTC in July finally issued a permit officially enabling the Mislatel consortium (now Dito Telecommunity Corp.) to operate as the country’s third telecommunications player, next to PLDT Inc. and Globe Telecom Inc.

Meanwhile, Campos is pushing for greater overall budgetary support to the three-year-old DICT.