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Ex-DICT official questions Php466 million cost of Philippines’ FREE WiFi project

FREE-WiFi-Philippines

A former undersecretary of the Department of Information and Communications Technology is alleging the agency has overspent on its free Wi-Fi project, noting costs have become five times more expensive when compared to a previous similar project.

In a recent media interview and House committee hearings, Eliseo Rio Jr. revealed and discussed the fact that the DICT allotted Php466 million for Free Wi-Fi Internet Access in Public Places Project, an amount that he claimed is exorbitant.

The PH government awarded this amount to four contractors, which provided were very small aperture terminals (VSAT) to serve a total of 1,035 public sites for five (5) months. Rio argued that each VSAT should only cost Php227,000 per year.

The current officials of the DICT justified the cost by noting the improved user experience brought by higher speeds provided by the Wi-Fi project, something Rio has also criticized.

The free Wi-Fi, according to Rio, should be used for online government services and education. He questions what the point of having faster speeds is in public Wi-Fi, claiming that people don’t connect to the public Wi-Fi just to stream Netflix shows or play online games.

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