The Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) said it inked separate agreements with the local governments of Baguio and Zambales for the establishment of fiber broadband networks in the said LGUs.
For Baguio, the DICT said it signed last Sept. 25 a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) for the setting up of the City Broadband Network as well as to fast-track the roll-out of free Wi-Fi Internet access points across the city.
According to DICT, the City Broadband Network will adopt a “state-of-the-art broadband technology and design” that will allow Baguio City to have a “high-capacity ICT infostructure that will provide cheaper and faster Internet for government offices and public places” in the city.
“After today’s MOA signing, any time next week we will start the construction of our smart city system. It will be the first part of the system in the entire country which will have a very robust platform. ‘Yung broadband natin napansin niyo na mabagal ang data sa siyudad ng Baguio. Nagkakaproblema tayo pagdating sa bandwidth. This project will solve that issue,” Baguio City mayor Benjamin Magalong said.
The initiative is part of initial phase of the National Broadband Program (NBP) which will link provincial broadband networks through fiber-optic cables.
“The MOA is for the connection of the proposed National Broadband Phase 1 to the City of Baguio. From La Trinidad, the City of Baguio will lay down fiber all the way to Camp John Hay and will be able to distribute the bandwith we will provide throughout the city, national and local government offices,” DICT assistant secretary Emmanuel Rey Caintic said.
“This is a very important partnership because of the limited funds of the DICT has, we need the help of the LGUs like the City of Baguio to propagate the Internet we will provide,” he added.
For Zambales, the DICT also signed an MOA for the establishment of the Zambales Provincial Broadband Network as well as for the deployment of free public Wi-Fi hotspots through the DICT’s Free Wi-Fi for All Program.
The soon-to-be established Provincial Broadband Network will also be linked to the NBP. Phase 1 of the government-owned network is expected to be completed by the end of 2020.
“We aim in this joint partnership to be a catalyst in furthering inclusive and comprehensive broadband penetration in the province by supporting the provincial government’s initiative for the establishment of the Provincial Broadband Network and by ensuring that the provincial LGU is provided with adequate bandwidth at reasonable, competitive rates as allowed by law, if not free,” DICT secretary Gregorio Honasan said.
The ceremonial signing took place during the launching of 64 Free Wi-Fi live sites in 16 locations in Zambales last Sept. 29. These sites have been accessible to the public since August this year.
At present, government offices, hospitals, state universities and local colleges, among others, are using free Wi-Fi sites in the province. These include the President Ramon Magsaysay State University and the Philippine Merchant Marine Academy. It is expected that with the new MOA, more public institutions will be provided with free Internet.