By Charie Mae F. Abarca, December 29,2022; Manila Bulletin 

The Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) is aiming to hit its target of mounting 15,834 free WiFi sites in the Philippines by 2023.

The agency is working on the establishment of free WiFi sites in the country, especially in geographically-challenged areas as part of its goal to end the so-called digital divide, said DICT Undersecretary Anna Mae Lamentillo.

“Ang target natin ay magkaroon ng kabuuang 15,834 free WiFI sites sa taong 2023. At pagdating ng 2025, inaasahan natin na 100,000 sites ang magiging operational (Our target is to have a total of 15,834 free WiFi sites by the year 2023. And by 2025, we expect 100,000 sites to be operational),” said Lamentillo during the “Laging Handa” public briefing on Thursday, Dec. 29.

Under the Broadband ng Masa program, DICT mounts free WiFi sites in the country, especially in far-flung areas such as Basilan, Sulu, Tawi-Tawi, and Pagasa Island in Kalayaan Group of Islands.

“Noong Oktubre, pinangunahan ni Secretary Ivan John Uy ang launching ng free WiFi sites sa tatlong malalayong isla ng Zamboanga (In October, Secretary Ivan John Uy led the launching of free WiFI sites in three remote areas of Zamboanga),” said Lamentillo, adding that these islands are Sacol, Tigtabon, and Pangapuyan.

Meanwhile, the DICT official stressed that apart from ending the digital divide, free WiFi sites present more opportunities to Filipinos by simply allowing them to access online learning, telemedicine, and online banking among others.