DICT Free Wi-Fi for 25 Million Filipinos in Unserved Areas — Honasan
By EDD K. USMAN, SDN, Twitter @edd1819, Instagram @bluestar0910, Facebook: SDN — Science, Digital & Current Affairs
(SDN) — FILIPINOS, especially in remote communities, still have to experience internet connectivity, let along fast Wi-Fi.
But there’s hope moving forward for around 25 million Filipinos in the country’s unserved and underseved communities. (“Unserved” and “underserved” are terms currently being used to describe the absence or limited presence of telecommunications — telecoms — network.)
Former senator, now Department of Information and Communications (DICT) Secretary Gregorio “Gringo” Honasan offered hope for his countrymen concerning provisions of improved connectivity through the government’s flagship National Broadband Program (NBP).
DICT, he assured, is addressing such concerns.
“To develop the President’s (Rodrigo Roa Duterte) mandate of providing the fast connectivity to people and streamline the convoluted processes that bog down processes, the DICT developed its priority infrastructure projects to address the clamor for better broadband services.
“One such flagship is the National Broadband Program, which aims to deploy pervasive broadband connectivity in distant, remote places of the nation by utilizing and converging public-private resources,” said the DICT chief.
Honasan revealed the DICT’s target in the coming three years of putting in operation an estimated 111 nodes using the National Grid of the Philippines’ (NGP) spare fiber to cascade capacity to identified growth areas in Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao.
Add to this another of the department’s future plan of building 20 cable landing stations with over a thousand kilometers of submarine cable put in place to connect to more international gateways.
“To complement these, the installation of more communication tower is being accelerated through cooperation with telecommunication companies, with a total 104 IP radio systems and 105 repeater systems erected,” the former senator and founder and leader of the erstwhile Reform the Armed Forces Movement (RAM) which launched a rebellion against the administration of the then President Ferdinand E. Marcos, said.
DICT is also on a move to tap electric cooperatives, cable providers, and other major stakeholders, to lay out fiber aimed at connecting more government agencies, public schools and colleges, public hospitals, and local government units (LGUs).
Honasan assured that the DICT will addressed any gaps in the envisioned network to ensure nobody is left behind through a proposed sovereign broadband satellite to connect communities in hard-to-reach islands and inaccessible mountainous areas by beaming down sufficient capacity.
“All these will work synergistically to make internet connectivity accessible, affordable, and fast to help provide responsive public service to people and uplift the standards of living for everyone. With the NBP as the foundation in place, the DICT can successfully roll out its free Wi-Fi Internet Access to Public Places Program — another flagship program of the department — which will provide access in all government establishments, public education institutions, public hospitals and health centers, public transportation terminals and ports, and other public places.
STRATBASE FORUM. Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) Secretary Gregorio ‘Gringo’ Honasan (right) leans forward as he speaks to former Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) Secretary Alberto del Rosario (2nd, left). At left is National Privacy Commission (NPC) Chairman/Commissioner Raymund E. Liboro, and Prof. Dindo Manhid, CEO and managing director of Stratbase Group. (Photo: SDN – Science and Digital News)
“By 2022, we aim to have provided free Wi-Fi approximately 104,000 public sites through different strategies, such as partnership with the private sector and tapping satellite broadband services, among others.”
INNOVATION FORUM. Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) Secretary Gregorio ‘Gringo’ Honasan briefs the Stratbase Group-organized form titled ‘Innovative Philippines: Transforming Barriers to Productivity, Transparency and Inclusive Growth. Former senator Honasan laid down the DICT’s ongoing big ticket programs and upcoming plans to push the country’s digital transformation, not the least improving the perennial slow-speed connectivity that has long-bedeviled millions of Filipinos. Honasan has hardly warmed his seat at the DICT. (Video: SDN — Science and Digital News)
Prof. Victor Andres “Dindo” Manhit, CEO and managing director of Stratbase Group, said at the outset the objective of the forum concerns seeking “to bring together stakeholders in the information, communications and technology (ICT) to work towards transforming barriers to productivity, transparency and inclusive growth. (SDN)