Duterte orders new broadband plan, stamps seal on free public Wi-Fi

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Pres. Rodrigo R. Duterte has instructed the newly created Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) to study the formulation of a new national broadband strategy in order to expand the government?s free Wi-Fi access program in public areas.

Pres. Rodrigo Duterte delivering his first State-of-the-Nation Address
Pres. Rodrigo Duterte delivering his first State-of-the-Nation Address

?I have ordered the DICT to develop a national broadband plan to improve internet speed,? Duterte said in his first State of the Nation Address (Sona) on Monday, July 25.

The DICT, under lawyer Rudy Salalima, is in charge of creating the policy framework for the country?s ICT framework.

The government said the national broadband plan, which was initially proposed during the term of former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo but was ultimately scuttled due to corruption allegations, is intended to address the slow internet speed in the country and challenges and accelerate broadband deployment.

Duterte stressed that the national broadband plan must include provision of free Wi-Fi access in public areas, including parks, hospitals, airports, seaports, train stations, libraries.

?Wi-Fi access shall be provided at no charge in selected public places,? Duterte said.

First implemented by the ICT Office during the Aquino administration, the free Wi-Fi program for public areas is now on its second phase.

Sen. Francis Pangilinan has also filed a bill in the Senate that seeks to strengthen the program by providing an annual budget and the use of government resources for its effective implementation. — PNA

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