The Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) and the Local Government of Zambales are strengthening their partnership in providing Internet connectivity in the province through the signing of a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) for the continuous deployment of free public Wi-Fi through the DICT’s Free Wi-Fi for All Program and the establishment of the Zambales Provincial Broadband Network.
The ceremonial signing took place during the launching of 64 Free Wi-Fi live sites in 16 locations in Zambales on 29 September 2020. The said Free Wi-Fi sites were the result of the cooperation between the DICT and the Province of Zambales formalized through a previous MOA signed last January. These sites have been accessible to the public since August this year.
“Wala naman sa ating nakaisip na the COVID-19 pandemic would set in so we never anticipated or foresaw the events that followed after the singing of the MOA – the heightened clamor for Internet connectivity after the onset of the community quarantine in the Philippines took the telecommunications sector by surprise… So today, thanks to the initiative of the Zambales Local Government and, of course, with the help from the DICT, we are a step ahead in strengthening Internet in Zambales during these uncertain times when digital access has become one of the most valuable resources,” DICT Secretary Gregorio B. Honasan II said.[Nobody could have predicted that the COVID-19 pandemic would set in so we never anticipated or foresaw the events that followed after the singing of the MOA – the heightened clamor for Internet connectivity after the onset of the community quarantine in the Philippines took the telecommunications sector by surprise…]
At present, government offices, hospitals, state universities and local colleges, among others, benefit from existing Free Wi-Fi sites in the province. These include the President Ramon Magsaysay State University and the Philippine Merchant Marine Academy. It is expected that with the new MOA, more public institutions will be provided with free Internet.
“We take part and participate in the program of the government in its efforts to enhance Internet accessibility and bolster economic, social and educational undertakings as a way to minimize the digital divided present in our society today. At ako ay natutuwa na tayo ay isa sa mapapalad na lalawigan na tatanggap ng tulong mula sa pamahalaan bilang bahagi ng Republic Act 10929 sa pangunguna ng Department of Information and Communications Technology,” Zambales Governor Hermogenes Ebdane, Jr. said.[…And I am elated that we are among the provinces that will receive help from the government as part of Republic Act 10929 led by the Department of Information and Communications Technology.]
Meanwhile, the to-be established Provincial Broadband Network is to be linked to the national broadband backbone. Phase 1 of the government-owned network will be completed by the end of 2020.
“We aim in this joint partnership to be a catalyst in furthering inclusive and comprehensive broadband penetration in the province by supporting the provincial government’s initiative for the establishment of the Provincial Broadband Network and by ensuring that the provincial LGU is provided with adequate bandwidth at reasonable, competitive rates as allowed by law, if not free,” Secretary Honasan explained.
“Looking forward, this partnership between the DICT and the Provincial Government of Zambales and its people is the best opportunity that will create a positive impact in the lives of people,” Governor Ebdane added.