Seventy-nine (79) additional Free Wi-Fi for All hotspots were launched in Surigao del Norte last March 9.

This is part of the Department of Information and Communications Technology’s (DICT’s) ramped up efforts to provide Internet connectivity in public places across the country, especially in geographically isolated and disadvantaged areas.

“The DICT remains true to its mission to reach and provide Internet connectivity to all Filipinos wherever they are in the country. That is why this 2021, we further strengthened our connectivity initiatives in line with President Rodrigo Durterte’s directive for the DICT to connect the government to other governments, businesses and citizens – that includes the Free Wi-Fi for All Program,” DICT Secretary Gregorio B. Honasan II said. 

The Free Wi-Fi for All launch, led by newly designated DICT Mindanao Cluster 2 Regional Director Sittie Rahma Alawi, was aimed at increasing the public’s awareness of the presence of the Free Wi-Fi for All Program in the province as well as the location of each Free Wi-Fi hotspot in different municipalities.

The launch was also aimed at reinforcing partnership and collaboration between the DICT and stakeholders, promote the use of ICT in the new normal, and share stories from program beneficiaries.

Surigao del Norte 1st District Representative Francisco Jose Matugas II, co-author of Republic Act 10929 or the Free Internet Access in Public Places Act, and 2nd District Representative Robert Ace Barbers expressed their appreciation to the realization of the Free Wi-Fi for All Program as well as its presence and availability in the province.

Surigao del Norte Vice Governor Eddie Gokiangkee Jr. likewise expressed his gratitude to the DICT and encouraged the Surigaonons to take advantage of the readily available Free Internet connectivity.

“In this time of pandemic, for over a year now, humankind has all the more proven how significant Internet connection is to the provision of continued services in the various offices, private and public alike. There could have been no online classes, no virtual meetings, sessions, and conferences… The online connection has brought us virtually closer,” he explained.

Meanwhile, DICT Undersecretary Alan Silor, who represented Secretary Honasan during the event, assured the public that there will be more hotspots to be established in the future.

As of 10 March 2021, there are 8,170 Free Wi-Fi sites deployed across the country. This is a significant increase from the 3,251 established sites during the period of 2016 to 2019. Since the assumption of Secretary Honasan as DICT chief, the department has more than doubled the total number of sites deployed throughout the entire country.