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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 Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).

Pipol Konek is the Free Wi-Fi Internet Access in Public Places Project of the DICT.

According to a recent press release, the signing ceremony happened during the First Project Board Meeting and Project Document Signing Ceremony, led by the Department’s Acting Secretary and the UNDP Philippine Country Office Resident Representative.

It was last year, on 26 September 2018, that the Department had listed the assistance of the UNDP on two important things.

Acceleration through assistance

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.

This reportedly involves training the people and telecommunications companies on rollouts done in other countries that had very successful free Wi-Fi programs.

Moreover, the organisation was also involved with the exploration of international partners through proposed convergence initiatives.

This entails help from the organisation in bringing in foreign companies and technology to set up a free national Wi-Fi network in the country.

The Acting Secretary shared that the Department is optimistic that their goals of providing free Internet access and promoting knowledge-building among the citizens will soon be realised.

The government’s acquaintance of the local context, combined with the organisation’s expertise with international models will definitely meld to structure an effective partnership.

Access to the internet is access to services and information.

The organisation is pleased to assist the Department in its goal of meeting the national objective of bridging the digital divide and leaving no one behind.

Challenges faced

Before the signing, the organisation’s Governance Specialist discussed the key challenges they have experienced in the past.

One problem they faced was the need to strengthen coordination with the national and local government agencies.

The second was difficulties with procurement.

The Pipol Konek Project will address the challenges identified through various workshops and consultative meetings.

Working together

Both the DICT and the UNDP will take charge of the project oversight.

They will trickle down operational functions to partners in the national government agencies, civil society organisations, and local government units.

The organisation has work cut out for them following the signing of the project document.

They will conduct area-based network analysis of target sites, oversee monitoring of project impact, and continue provision of technical training in order to achieve expected outputs.

OpenGov Asia recently reported on the partnership between DICT and PSRTI for ICT statistics projects.

Of the two ICT statistics projects that they are planning, one will be the Pipol Konek User Feedback Analysis, which seeks to examine the outcomes of the project on people’s access to social services and economic opportunities.

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