By Richmond Mercurio, July 26, 2020; The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Information and Communications Technology plans to increase the number of free WiFi spots nationwide to more than 10,000 by year-end.

The DICT is targeting a total of 10,069 live sites this year, with 2,588 to be established in government hospitals and rural health sites to help in the efforts against the COVID-19 pandemic.

The number will be doubled next year with a total of 23,100 sites eyed.

The expansion is part of the DICT’s Free WiFi for All Program which aims to enhance internet accessibility to bridge the digital divide and bolster socio-economic opportunities for the public.

As of the end of June, DICT said 4,248 live sites have been installed and are operational under the program.

To achieve the 23,100 live sites by next year, the DICT aims to spend P7.7 billion for the implementation of the Free WiFi for All program.

The agency is seeking a total budget of P46.6 billion next year to effectively implement strategic programs towards digital transformation.

The DICT has set a roadmap for digitalization that will require robust and wide-reaching ICT infrastructure buildup.