Sen. Juan Edgardo ?Sonny? Angara has called on the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) to fast-track the implementation of the free Wi-Fi project in all state universities and colleges (SUCs) in the country.
Based on the data from the DICT, as of July this year, only two of the 112 SUCs have been provided with free Internet connectivity under the department’s Pipol Konek! Free Wi-Fi Project.
The two SUCs with free Wi-Fi are Aklan State University and Caraga State University.
Angara, finance committee vice chairman who sponsored DICT’s budget, noted that P327 million has been allocated to install Wi-Fi in all SUCs in the country this year.
“Tayo po ay nadidismaya sa napakabagal na pagpapatupad ng libreng Wi-Fi para sa ating mga mag-aaral. The Internet keeps us connected with our family and friends. Malaking tulong ito lalo na sa mga estudyanteng malayo sa kani-kanilang pamilya,” the senator said.
Under the proposed P3.757-trillion budget for 2019, P280 million is allotted for the continuation of the free Wi-Fi in SUCs project.
Angara said he is expecting DICT acting secretary Eliseo Rio to explain before the Senate committee the cause of delay, and the steps being undertaken to fast-track its implementation.
“Ensuring free Internet connectivity in SUCs can help the students with their research, school assignments and projects. Kung libre ang Wi-Fi, malaki sana ang kanilang matitipid sa halip na gumastos sila sa computer shops o sa pagpapa-load para makapag-Internet,” he added.
The Pipol Konek! Free Wi-Fi Project has a total budget of P1.7 billion for 2018, which includes P327 million for SUCs and P1.36 billion for free Wi-Fi in public places.
However, as of June this year, the DICT revealed that it has only utilized 10 percent of the budget for the said project. In a 2017 Commission on Audit report, the project achieved a “very low performance rate.”