DICT kicks off 1st free Wi-Fi site in Baguio

Public Connectivity-- DICT Assistant Secretary Felino Castro V in leading the launching of the free public wifi for the Park Area of the Baguio Post Office Loop Wednesday outlined that the project under DICT's "Free Wifi - for All" program will be the first and 309 more public places in the summer capital is set to be installed with free public internet connectivity that can help improve the lives of the people. Mayor Benjamin Magalong joined Castro during the launching. **Lito Dar/PIA CAR

BAGUIO CITY– The Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) launched on Wednesday the first free Wireless Fidelity (Wi-Fi) site here.
“This is the first site and first in Baguio City and as we roll out, we have targeted 309 sites in Baguio alone – covering hospitals, barangay halls, schools, State Universities,” said Felino Castro V, Assistant Secretary of the National Broadband Program and Free Public Internet Access of the DICT.
The next Wi-Fi site will be at the bus station area at Gov. Pack Road, followed by the launching at Burnham Park.
He said the project is to provide internet connectivity to the public, specifically to access government services online.
Aside from the 309 sites in Baguio, there will be 344 in Benguet, Castro said, adding that the Wi-Fi sites will all be in public places.
He said they hope to finish all the target sites in two to three years with at least 10 percent finished by next year as laying down of fiber optic cables and setting up towers would take most of the time.
Castro assured the continuity of the program beyond President Rodrigo Duterte’s term, citing the provisions of Republic Act 10929 or “An Act establishing the free internet access program in public places in the country.”
The law provides for the continuous funding of the program from the “spectrum users fund” that is collected from the telecommunications companies for the setting up of infrastructures such as towers.
“Yun yung ating (Our) sustainability model kaya (that is why) we don’t see any major risk of this being discontinued because I think who wouldn’t want internet.
Everybody is always online once you wake up until you go to sleep,” Castro said.
An access point Wi-Fi site is provided 10Mbps internet speed. This will, however, vary as hospitals may be given a higher speed.
A user simply has to look for the “free Wi-Fi for all” service set identifier (SSID) or the Wi-Fi name. It will not require any information from the user like name, cellphone number or any personal information.
During the launching, the DICT recorded a total of 100 concurrent users accessing the Wi-Fi at the Post Office park who enjoyed 3 to 5 Mbps connection.
“Again libre ito (this is free), because this is the people’s taxes working, we are providing this free to the public,” Castro said. **PNA

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