DICT targets 10,000 free WiFi hotspots nationwide by end of 2020

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, August 23) — The Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) plans to put up over 5,000 new WiFi spots in the country in the next four months to boost internet connectivity.

DICT deputy spokesperson Adrian Echaus said Sunday that the agency’s goal is to have 10,069 WiFi hotspots in the country by the end of the year, up from the current 4,600.

By 2021, Echaus said DICT aims to have put up 23,100 free WiFi hotspots. The priority, he added, is providing internet connectivity to remote areas.

“Importante na magkaroon ng WiFi ang mga areas, especially ang focus natin dito is 'yung mga underserved and unserved areas,” Echaus said in an online forum.

[Translation: It is important to have WiFi in areas, and especially our focus here are underserved and unserved areas.]

With learning for both basic and tertiary education shifting online due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Echaus said DICT also wants to increase the number of free WiFi hotspots in public schools, state universities and colleges, as well as training centers of the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA).

He said DICT has a target of installing 2,575 free WiFi sites near public schools for 2020 and aims to put up 1,804 free WiFi sites for tertiary education institutions.

Echaus, however, said telecommunications companies will have to step up to boost internet connectivity in the country as government’s resources are limited.

He said he is hopeful that more cell towers will be built by telcos in the coming months as the government eases requirements for their construction.

“We also need the help of the private sector and that’s why kailangan natin (we need), as I mentioned earlier, better allocation of bandwidth and increase in towers,” Echaus said.