Philippine legislators expressed hope for a faster and more affordable data connection at the soonest possible time.
According to a recent press release, the House Committee on Appropriations tackled the PHP 5.15 billion (US$ 99.2 million) budget proposal of the DICT for fiscal year 2020 in a hearing recently.
Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) Secretary Gregorio Honasan conveyed that the Department is putting in efforts to advance the country, making it a digital Philippines.
Working towards a digital Philippines
In his presentation, Sec Honasan guaranteed that the initiatives of the DICT are aligned with the idea of establishing an innovative, safe and peaceful nation.
Moreover, he shared their thrusts towards a digital Philippines. These include programs on forming a digital government, a digital workforce, and digital communities.
According to him, these are only ideas that show a glimpse of the future. The vision of a digital Philippines is an arduous task, and hard work is needed for it.
One of the Vice-Chairmen of the House Committee on Appropriations assured the DICT that they will study the proposal presented in order to prevent the Filipinos from experiencing a very slow mobile data.
He stressed the stronger need and necessity for faster data speed.
DICT Assistant Secretary Felino Castro V reported that while average data connection in the country is at 4 Mbps, the Department is already working on installing free Wi-Fi in public areas across the Philippines that would offer a data connection of at least 10Mbps.
He promised that the Department can complete the installation in about 104,000 sites nationwide by the end of the current Philippine President’s term in 2022.
Additionally DICT Undersecretary Eliseo Rio Jr. explained to the panel that a having a slow data connection can be attributed to the lack of existing cell towers as the Philippines has one of the lowest tower densities in Asia.
Because of this, he proposed that sufficient funding be provided for the DICT, which would allow them to mount a total of 50,000 cell towers to address the data needs of the Filipinos.
Queries were raised about the public clamour against radiation-emitting cell towers being mounted within their communities.
The Undersecretary addressed this and reassured that the towers will not cause any harm to the health of those residing within the vicinity of cell towers.
In order for the communities to fully understand the situation, recommendation was made for the Department of Information and Communications Technology to call a massive orientation and education campaign among local officials and barangays.
OpenGov Asia earlier reported on the Formal partnership to fast track free Wi-Fi in the Philippines.
The rollout of the Pipol Konek project will definitely be accelerated with the formalisation of the partnership between the Departmentand the UNDP.
OpenGov Asia also reported on DICT to partner with telco companies for 50,000 towers. Partnering with telecommunications companies will boost the rollout of the government’s common tower initiative.