The Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) said it will fast-track the deployment of its Free Wi-Fi for All Program to address the connectivity needs of public educational institutions under the “new normal”.
DICT secretary Gregorio B. Honasan II has directed the units in charge of its free Wi-Fi program to coordinate and collaborate with the Department of Education (DepEd), the Commission on Higher Education (CHED), state universities and colleges (SUCs), and other educational institutions, for the installation of hotspots that are relevant to the education sector, including the provision of technical assistance when necessary.
“Pres. Rodrigo Duterte expressed his support for the DepED’s push for blended and distance learning so that education will continue in the midst of the Covid-19 health emergency,” Honasan said.
“A key factor for this is fast, reliable and secure Internet — we are focusing on speeding up infrastructure buildup to address the expected surge in demand for connectivity in the education sector,” he added.
In accordance with Republic Act 10929, otherwise known as the “Free Internet Access in Public Places Act”, the DICT covers the installation of free Internet access in public places and aims to accelerate the government’s efforts in enhancing Internet accessibility.
Public places include plazas, schools, rural health units (RHUs), transport terminals, airports, seaports, hospitals, and community quarantine sites among others.
Around 50 government designated quarantine facilities nationwide have been connected to the Internet through the DICT’s Free Wi-Fi for All Program during this Covid-19 health crisis. Among the facilities include:
- Dagupan City Astrodome in Pangasinan;
- Southern Isabela Medical Center at Santiago City, Isabela;
- Athlete’s Village in Capas, Tarlac;
- Philippine Arena in Sta. Maria, Bulacan;
- Lipa City Isolation Facility at Batangas;
- Camarines Sur Provincial Medical Center at Bula, Camarines Sur;
- Panay Multipurpose Gym (Quarantine Center) at Panay, Capiz;
- Sacred Heart School for Boys (Old Campus) in Cebu City, Cebu;
- Zamboanga Sibugay Provincial Hospital at Mahayag, Zamboanga Sibugay;
- Sto. Niño Medical Center in Baguio City, Benguet; and
- Philippine Arena’s 300-bed mega treatment facility in Bocaue, Bulacan