MANILA – The Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) on Thursday said it is targeting to install over 9,000 free Wi-Fi sites nationwide next year to enhance the country's digital transformation efforts.
In a Laging Handa public briefing, DICT Undersecretary Anna Mae Lamentillo said the agency aims to set up 9,762 additional sites in public places and 162 sites in state universities and colleges.
Lamentillo noted that there are currently 4,757 live sites in 75 provinces and the National Capital Region under the government’s digitalization initiative.
"Ang digitalization ay isa sa mga prayoridad ng administrasyon ni Pangulong Bongbong Marcos. Ang kaniyang direktiba sa DICT ay siguraduhin ang universal connectivity at palakasin ang e-governance para mas mahusay na maipaabot ang mga serbisyo ng gobyerno sa ating mga mamamayan (Digitalization is one of the priorities of the administration of President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. His directive to the DICT is to ensure universal connectivity and boost e-governance to enhance the services of the government for our citizens)," she said.
She said the establishment of free Wi-Fi sites is under the DICT's "Broadband ng Masa Program" (BBMP) to improve the country's digital infrastructure.
"Isa sa mga programa ng DICT ay ang ‘Broadband ng Masa’ na naglalayong magbigay ng mas mabilis at mas mahusay na koneksiyon sa broadband sa bansa lalo na para sa mga geographically isolated at disadvantaged areas. Kasama dito ang pagpapahusay at pagbuo ng malawak na imprastraktura ng broadband, paghikayat ng mga investments sa mga unserved, and underserved communities at pagsulong ng mga ICT-related policies (One of the programs of the DICT is the Broadband ng Masa which aims to improve internet speed and connectivity in the country, especially in geographically isolated and disadvantaged areas. This includes enhancing and establishing broadband infrastructure, encourage more investments for the unserved and underserved communities and advocate ICT-related policies)," she said.
Also part of the BBMP, she said, is the Luzon Bypass Infrastructure Project (LBIP), which is seen to be online by next year to boost the government’s network backbone.
The LBIP is a 240-kilometer fiber line that will connect government-owned cable landing stations (CLS) in Baler, Aurora, and in Poro Point, La Union -- with repeater stations at 50-km intervals.
"Ang Luzon Bypass Infrastructure... ay magpapataas by 50 times sa kasalukuyang capacity ng gobyerno – so mula po 40,000 MBPS, iyan po ay aabot sa two million MBPS by next year. Inaasahan natin na matatapos natin ang Phase 1 ng Luzon Bypass Infrastructure sa first half ng 2023 (The Luzon Bypass Infrastructure will increase total government capacity 50 times from 40,000 Mbps to 2,000,000 Mbps by next year. We are expecting that the first phase of the Luzon Bypass Infrastructure will be completed within the first half of 2023)," she said.
Through a Landing Party Agreement signed among the DICT, the Bases Conversion and Development Authority (BCDA), and Facebook, the latter will be allowed to use the LBIP in exchange for providing the Philippine government with a spectrum equivalent to at least 2 million Megabits per second (Mbps) through its submarine cable. (PNA)