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Northern Samar, Philippines to get free internet access

The Province of Northern Samar will soon be able to access the Free Wi-Fi for All Project of the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) and United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).

The Provincial Planning and Development Coordinator in an interview with the Philippine Information Agency said DICT and UNDP are bridging the digital divide by connecting Filipinos from remote, at risk, and vulnerable areas across the country.

The Free Wi-Fi for All Project, previously known as Pipol Konek, will install, operate, and maintain free public internet service to 6,000 remote sites all over the Philippines, he said.

According to a press release, the project is targeted to facilitate the delivery of various governance, livelihood, and development initiatives in the province.

The planning officer pointed out that a total of 77 priority sites for the province consisting of municipal halls, public schools, and other government-managed properties are included to access the free internet connections.

The most significant of which is the free internet service for 36 public schools and four training centres. This is expected to significantly improve the learning and teaching practices of the students and educators in the area, the official noted.

He further added that the project will contribute to the on-going campaign of the United Nations for rapid progress on the achievement of sustainable development goals particularly on quality education, gender development, and reduced inequalities.

Moreover, with the project, vulnerable and at-risk communities will have broad access to information through the free public Wi-Fi.

The rapid roll-out of Free WI-FI for All Project is scheduled on July and August and hopefully be operational by the fourth quarter of 2020.

DICT is also planning to put up more than 12,000 internet sites in public education institutions nationwide under the same program.

10,300 sites will be deployed in public schools. 1,804 sites will be deployed in state universities and colleges (SUCs) and Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) institutions.

Other parts of the country are also launching digital initiatives to cope with the epidemic.

In preparation for the shift to blended learning in the coming school year, the Department of Education (DepED)-Iligan City Schools Division has signed a memorandum of agreement (MOA) with private players for free internet connectivity.

The project, dubbed ‘Internet Connectivity: Programa sa Paglaum sa Edukasyon, Kahayag sa Kaugmaon’, was formalised during the signing.

Iligan Light and Power, Inc. (ILPI) and the Southern Cable Vision, Inc. (SCVI) will provide free internet connectivity and maintenance for one year to 15 public schools of the City Division, which will use the online distance learning modality.

ILPI is a privately-owned electricity power distribution utility and SCVI is a cable TV and internet provider in Iligan.

The project, which supports the Bayanihan To Heal As One Act, is part of the corporate social responsibility of the two companies.

According to an official, about 10% of the students will have access to online modalities. The rest will be using the printed module.

Through the project, the city can reduce or save around PH ₱200 million (about US $4 million) in the production of printed materials.

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