DICT earmarks ₱7.7-B in 2021 budget for free WiFi program

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, July 17) - The Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) has allotted ₱7.7 billion in its proposed budget next year for the implementation of the free Wi-Fi program in public spaces and state universities and colleges (SUCs).

DICT Secretary Gringo Honasan II said on Friday that the earmarked budget will be utilized to reach the department’s target of establishing 23,100 live sites by the end of 2021.

Honasan said the department is planning to establish most of the live sites in educational institutions, with 10,300 sites in public schools and 1,804 sites in SUCs and Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) schools.

“This is part of our commitment to DepEd, CHED and TESDA to ensure the education sector’s access to broadcast, connectivity and digital security this upcoming school year while the country is still under state of public health emergency,” said Honasan in a statement.

Classes in all levels will open this August through a so-called “flexible learning,” which involves digital and non-digital technology.

Of the targeted 23,100 sites next year, DICT said 5,644 will be installed in national and local government offices, 3,300 in public hospitals and rural health centers, 1,505 in public parks, plazas, and other open areas, 368 in public libraries, and 179 in transport terminals.

Honasan said there are so far 4,248 sites installed and operating as of June 30, with 400 of them in public hospitals and rural health centers.