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Expanding Internet Connectivity in the Philippines

Senate President Pro Tempore Loren Legarda urged the government to prioritise cell sites in geographically isolated and disadvantageous regions (GIDA), indigenous villages, and other upland places. In addition, she advocated that the government’s digitalisation and internet connectivity initiative be implemented throughout Antique province in the future years.

In her hometown of Antique, 40% of the populace uses Globe and Smart connectivity. However, their tower locations are focused on urban regions. As a result, Legarda requested that WiFi hotspots be deployed throughout the province.

Legarda discussed her proposals with Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) Undersecretary Anna Mae Yu Lamentillo, Undersecretary Angelo Nuestro, and Assistant Secretary Philip Varilla at the Senate of the Philippines.

Around 18 Antique towns will undergo digital transformations to improve municipal services to be more accessible, faster, and more efficient. Legarda, the primary author of Republic Act No. 10844, the law that established the DICT, underlined the importance of ICT infrastructure, systems, and resources in ensuring universal access to excellent, cheap, dependable, and secure ICT services.

“We are doing this in Antique, and we will do it in other areas of the country. With our stronger cooperation with the DICT, we want every community, even our indigenous communities, to be digitally linked so that they are not left aside,” she added.

Meanwhile, Lamentillo said the DICT would pursue its mandate to build the digital infrastructure connecting communities, especially those in far-flung areas. The connectivity programme also provides citizens with better quality of life by delivering speedy and efficient government services to the people.

“We thank Senator Loren Legarda for her unwavering support to the DICT, from its inception and up to the present as we strive to ensure that every community in the country is digitally connected,” she declared.

Under President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr., the Philippines has strengthened efforts to develop the country’s internet connection. He promised his administration would do all its power to offer free internet connection to rural communities. The government plans to roll out the “BroadBand ng Masa Programme” (BBMP) to all isolated islands, especially those without a mobile cellular connection.

BBMPs across the country give free internet access to students and teachers from geographically isolated and disadvantaged regions (GIDAs). As part of the programme, an additional 628 operational free WiFi sites were installed, increasing the total amount of such WiFi sites throughout the Philippines to 4,757. At least 2.1 million unique users, or around 100,000 families, can access the government’s free internet connections. Interconnectivity and government services will benefit from digital technologies.

DICT Secretary Ivan John Uy was optimistic about the programme’s ability to help develop a “direct relationship” between GIDAs and the government. Establishing the Free WiFi for All Programme is one of the government’s accomplishments in boosting connection. He committed to increasing efforts to extend internet connection to more remote places.

Indonesia is made a similar push to persuade local governments to accelerate the provision of digital infrastructure for telecommunications and internet needs in rural locations. To service the community in all villages/sub-districts in Indonesia’s most remote, outlying, and underserved (3T) sites that have yet to be served by a 4G signal network. The BTS was built with funds from the State Revenue and Expenditure Budget by the Ministry of Communication and Information.

The BTS will be a downstream facility allowing the public to benefit from upstream infrastructure such as a broadband fibre-optic cable network. Another method for providing internet connection to rural schools and health care facilities is the SATRIA-I Satellite and the Hot Backup Satellite.

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