‘Half of PH provinces to have free Wi-Fi by yearend’

THE Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) is optimistic that it can provide free Wi-Fi internet access in public places through its Pipol Konek project to at least half of the Philippines’ provinces by the end of 2018.

In a phone interview, Eric Toledo, project manager of the nearly year-old project, said the department had aimed to reach all the country’s 81 provinces, but doing so was unlikely this year, as it depended on the bidding process for the procurement of a provincial Wi-Fi infrastructure network.

DICT opened this process in January to local and foreign ICT contractors, telecommunication providers, service integrators, and value-added and internet service providers.

In March, the process encountered problems on some of the bidders’ minor documentary deficiencies, the department said in April.

The names and number of those that bid were not disclosed.

DICT expects to award more bidders by July and September to hasten the rollout of Pipol Konek in public places across the country, Tolledo said.

Pipol Konek is currently available in the provinces of Camarines Sur, Pampanga, and Tarlac.

The free Wi-Fi has an average speed of 512 kilobits per second (Kbps) to 50 megabits per second (Mbps), depending on the location, the number of people connected, and other factors.

The project has 1,347 hotspots nationwide.

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