Free public Wi-Fi project resumes rollout as private firms sign up

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After getting stalled for a number of months due to lack of interest from private firms, the government?s ?Juan Konek Free Wi-Fi Internet Access in Public Places Project? is finally set to begin the initial phases of implementation.

DOST-ICT Office undersecretary Louis Napoleon Casambre (middle, in white long sleeves) with execs from Internet service providers
DOST-ICT Office undersecretary Louis Napoleon Casambre (middle, in white long sleeves) with execs from Internet service providers

This is after the ICT Office of the Department of Science and Technology (ICT Office-DOST) issued on March 16 the Notice to Proceed (NTP) to the project?s commercial service providers, which include the joint venture of Innove Communications and Yondu, We are IT Philippines, Converge ICT Solutions, AZ Communications Network, and Omniprime Marketing, PLDT Alpha, and Abratique and Associates Philippines.

?The project will go a long way in providing access to information, educational materials, e-commerce and communications for Filipinos, particularly in rural areas,? said Efren R. Abratique of Abratique & Associates Philippines.

Commercials ISPs were earlier reluctant to participate in the ICT Office?s flagship initiative as this would compete with their own service offerings. Some were hesitant to set up infrastructure in far-flung areas.

Prior to the ceremonial NTP signing, a free Wi-Fi project steering committee meeting was held that included members from different national government agencies..

The free public Wi-Fi initiative aims to provide free broadband Internet access to 1,462 class 1-6 municipalities, and 44 key cities nationwide.

DOST undersecretary and ICT Office executive director Louis Napoleon C. Casambre cited the importance of the collective efforts of the private and public sectors as catalysts in the completion of project.

?The road to connectivity, however, is one that should not be treaded alone. Our Office recognizes that the public and private sectors each possess particular strengths, and when both parties channel their efforts towards a shared goal, the sky?s the limit to what they can accomplish,? Casambre said.

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