The Free Wi-Fi for All Program deployed a total of twenty (20) hotspots to five (5) different locations in Batanes with four (4) Wi-Fi access points in each location. The new sites were launched through the Department of Information and Communication Technology (DICT)’s Luzon Cluster 1.
The locations include Batanes General Hospital, Batanes State College, Provincial Capitol of Batanes, DICT Batanes Provincial Office in Basco as well as the Mahatao Town Hall.
“While the COVID-19 pandemic continues to bring our country and the world to a standstill, Internet connectivity keeps us going, keeps us productive, and keeps us connected. However, access to Internet connectivity remains a challenge in remote areas, particularly in the countryside,” DICT Secretary Gregorio B. Honasan II stated.
“Hence, we are ramping up the deployment of Free Wi-Fi sites in various locations and also strengthened our partnership with local government units for the implementation of the program in their respective localities,” he added.
Mandated by Republic Act 10929 or the Free Internet Access in Public Places Act, the DICT continues to intensify its rollout of the Free Wi-Fi for All Program to reach even the most geographically isolated and disadvantaged areas (GIDA) of the country.
“The goal of Free Wi-Fi for All has always been to provide Filipinos access to the Internet in public places, to bring the Internet and the opportunities it carries to the people wherever in the country they may be,” DICT Undersecretary for Digital Philippines Emmanuel Rey R. Caintic explained.
DICT Assistant Secretary for Regional Operations and Countryside ICT Development Kristoffer L. Tiansay also stated that the Free Wi-Fi for All Program has intensified its efforts in enhancing Internet accessibility, especially to identified GIDA sites across the country.
“The Department aims to bolster economic, social and educational opportunities and bridge the growing digital divide in the Philippines. We aim to provide last mile connectivity, complementing the National Broadband Program which also serves as our key flagship program,” Assistant Secretary Tiansay said.
Officials from the Province of Batanes expressed their gratitude for the initiative and its significance in bettering the lives of the Ivatans.
Hon. Ciriaco B. Gato Jr., Representative of the Lone District of Batanes, said: “Tunay na ang Free Wi-Fi for All program ng DICT ay isa sa mga pinaka-hinihintay ng bawat residente ng lalawigan ng Batanes. This noble project will certainly have a strong impact on our healthcare workers, educators, students, entrepreneurs and almost everyone else in our daily communication with our loved ones.”
“Ang Free Wi-Fi for All project sa Batanes ay malaki ang maitutulong sa lahat ng mga Ivatans. Dahil sa proyektong ito, hindi na maiiwan o mahuhuli ang Batanes sa pagsabay sa daloy ng pag-unlad at pag-asenso lalo na sa makabagong panahon,” Batanes Governor Marilou H. Cayco said.
As of March 30, 2021, the DICT has established 8,361 sites across the country, serving millions of Filipinos, including students, freelance workers, educators, medical frontliners, uniformed personnel, and government employees.