The Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) is set to provide free Internet access points in the province of Zambales, Philippines through the Free Wi-Fi for All programme.
About the initiative
According to a recent press release, DICT Secretary Gregorio B. Honasan II and Zambales Governor Hermogenes E. Ebdane, Jr. formalised the commitment of both parties to carry out the implementation of the programme in the province through the signing of a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA).
The Department intends to make Zambales a showcase for ICT initiatives of the DICT for many reasons. These are:
- Development of local government units
- The objective of uniting the country
- The vision to promote lasting peace and prosperity
Also included in the MOA are the cooperation and collaboration on other projects on ICT connectivity, ICT governance, and ICT training programmmes, among others.
Significance of the initiative
DICT Undersecretary for Legal Affairs, Policy, Planning and Finance Jose Arturo C. De Castro highlighted the importance of the Free Wi-Fi for All Programme in the government’s effort to empower the Filipino people in the digital age.
Each and every citizen, regardless of where they are in the region, will be empowered not just for education but opportunities for work because of the connectivity that the government will bring through the Free Wi-Fi for All programme.
The Provincial Governor has given his full support to the DICT and added that the partnership will open up many opportunities for Zambales to explore and take advantage of the many potentials of ICT for growth and prosperity.
Hopefully, the signing of the MOA will maintain the framework of continued support and mutual cooperation between the province of Zambales and the DICT.
Other Wi-Fi initiatives
OpenGov Asia reported on the formalisation of the partnership between DICT and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), which will contribute to the acceleration of the Department’s Free Wi-Fi Internet Access in Public Places Project.
The assistance covered the acceleration of the rollout of Free Wi-Fi and the assistance in the capacity-building initiatives of the stakeholder involved in project management.
It involves training the people and telecommunications companies on rollouts done in other countries that had very successful free Wi-Fi programmes.
India has a similar initiative where the government reiterated its commitment to provide Wi-Fi in every village across the country.
The Minister of State for Communications said that BharatNet plans to provide 1 GBPS connectivity, which can be expanded up to 10 GBPS, to villages in the country.
Easy access to telephone and Wi-Fi facilities will be a reality for people in all corners of the country on any mobile phone.
Even Victoria, Australia implemented a free Wi-Fi initiative by connecting Shepparton. This initiative will boost the region’s visitor economy as well as enhance digital inclusion in the usual places where groups of people gather together.
Extending the reach of public Wi-Fi will help increase the region’s visitor economy and enhance digital inclusion because this will allow people to connect to the internet in the places where they gather together such as:
- Education precincts
- Neighbourhood Houses or local organisations that provide social, educational, and recreational activities for their communities
- Youth Spots or places where the youth are able to enjoy, play and socialise
- Parks and reserves