DICT to expand deployment of free Wi-Fi hotspots for distance learning
The Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) will fast-track the deployment of free Wi-Fi hotspots, under its Free Wi-Fi for All Program, to address the connectivity needs of public educational institutions as they adapt to distance learning.
Through a memorandum from DICT secretary Gregorio B. Honasan II, the department should coordinate and collaborate with some agencies under the education sector for the installation of the Wi-Fi hotspots, including its technical assistance. The agencies include the regional offices of the Department of Education (DepEd) and the Commission on Higher Education (CHED), state universities and colleges (SUCs), and other educational institutions.
According to DICT secretary Honasan, the President has expressed his support for DepED’s push for blended and distance learning amid the COVID-19 pandemic. However, its effectivity heavily relies on fast, reliable, and secured Internet. “…We are focusing on speeding up infrastructure buildup to address the expected surge in demand for connectivity in the education sector,” he said.
Apart from enhancing connectivity, DICT also facilitates webinars to upscale the skills of teachers, administrators, educators, and students in preparation for the adoption of blended learning systems.
Under the Republic Act 10929, also known as the Free Internet Access in Public Places Act, the DICT should cover the installation of free internet access in public places. This includes plazas, schools, Rural Health Units (RHUs), transport terminals, airports, seaports, hospitals, and community quarantine sites.
Currently, there are 50 government-designated quarantine facilities nationwide that are equipped with free Wi-Fi hotspots.