Free Wi-Fi for state universities and colleges pushed

TWO years after the approval of the Free Internet Access Program, Senator Sonny Angara lamented that a measly 17 state universities and colleges (SUCs) have been given free access to Wi-Fi by the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT).

Angara told DICT to step up their efforts in the implementation of Republic Act 10929 to bring free internet access to all public places especially SUCs where students need it the most.

President Rodrigo Duterte signed into law in 2017 the Free Internet Access Program, the government’s free Wi-Fi program in public places in the country, including government-run education institutions.

Angara, however, disclosed that out of the 112 SUCs covered by the project, only 17 had been given free Wi-Fi connectivity as of December 2018, based on DICT’s data it submitted to the Senate during the last budget hearing.

“That’s only 15 percent of the overall target,” lamented the senator. “Any delay means depriving our students and faculty members of 95 SUCs access to free Wi-Fi as what the project has intended.”

’s free public Wi-Fi project has a total budget of P1.7 billion for 2018, which includes P326 million for SUCs and P1.36 billion for free Wi-Fi in public places. However, as of June 2018, the DICT reported during a Senate budget hearing that it had only utilized 10 percent of the fund appropriated for the project.