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Free WiFi zones to be installed in Davao de Oro, Philippines

Image credit: Free Wi-Fi For All; Department of Information and Communications Technology

The Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) will install free 186 WiFi zones all over the Davao de Oro province.

The selected areas are mostly schools, the Governor, who made the announcement said.

Dubbed as the Free WiFi For All Project (previously Pipol Konek), DICT and UNDP aim to contribute the digital divide in the Philippines by encouraging new and existing local and international service providers to expand internet coverage in 6,000 sites by the end of 2020.

According to a press release, the province’s local school board (LSB) diverted more than PH₱ 7 million (around US$ 139,930) in funding to purchase transistor radios, WiFi units, laptops for the districts, sound systems, and other materials and equipment for the alternative learning modalities that the Department of Education will implement.

The 186 WiFi zones in Davao de Oro is part of Phase II of the implementation of the project, which is scheduled to start the installation this third quarter.

The Governor noted that the agencies shoulder the monthly subscription fee to the internet service providers; while the schools or local government unit wherever the WiFi will be installed, will shoulder the cost of the electricity bill.

For those areas that do not have electricity, the package includes solar panels.

The local chief executive is hoping that the WiFi project will be placed in time for the opening of the schools on 24 August.

In February, a joint launch for Free Wi-Fi for All and Tech4Ed was conducted at the Marinduque State College (MSC). The launch included an Internet Media and Information Literacy (IMIL) training session for students.

In the same month, another joint launch was held at the Municipality of Gasan. A total of fifty-six public places in Marinduque are now Free Wi-Fi for All-connected.

Also, under the programme, several Research Institute of Tropical Medicine (RITM)-accredited public health facilities that administer COVID-19 testing have free Internet connectivity services.

Some of the hospitals include the San Lazaro Hospital, City of Manila; Vicente Sotto Memorial Medical Center, Cebu City; Lung Center of the Philippines, Quezon City; Western Visayas Medical Center, Iloilo City; Southern Philippines Medical Center, Davao City.

In April, the government announced that it is taking measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19 through a more streamlined process of testing suspected cases.

Bolstering the testing of suspected patients in greater numbers is an aid in the form of ICT, which allows the swift gathering of data and exchange of vital information.

Frontline workers in these locations have access to free Wi-Fi services to connect with their loved ones during their breaks, a press statement said.

DICT is targeting to establish 2,527 live sites in public schools and 1,804 live sites in state universities as well as Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) institutions.

The Department will implement its programmes and services through the ICT literacy and Competency Bureau, Cybersecurity Bureau, and its regional offices.

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