The Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) aims to give 40 million Filipinos access to the Internet by year 2028 through its free Wi-Fi program.

Amidst its celebration of National ICT Month, some officials of the government agency said they are stepping up their efforts to grant more Filipinos with free Internet connection. Currently, the Free Wi-Fi for All program has served 8 million Filipinos in remote barangays.

Citing a recent study, DICT Undersecretary Jeffrey Ian Dy said that approximately only a third of Filipino households have fixed broadband access. A different report last year revealed that the Philippines lags behind in terms of internet stability, ranking only seventh among Southeast Asian countries.

Financial backing is one of the main challenges to improving the program, according to Dy. He estimated that approximately Php60 billion would be required to cover the target population.

Dy also mentioned another government program, the National Fiber Backbone, which is expected to improve internet connectivity while reducing Wi-Fi costs. However, this other program itself also needs substantial funding. Its first phase began in April to cover areas within Ilocos Norte and Quezon City. Later phases will extend the backbone to Bicol and parts of the Visayas, with future plans to reach Mindanao.

The DICT is also exploring fiber optic sharing among telecommunications companies to lower internet costs. It is similar to how cell towers are being shared through the Common Tower Policy.

Via: ABS-CBN News

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