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Gov’t launches nat’l broadband projects

The newly created Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) yesterday rolled out its national broadband strategies in time for the celebration of ICT month.

Information and Communications Technology Secretary Rodolfo Salalima said the projects were expected to aid the growth momentum of the country as an emerging economy and a fruition of President Duterte’s mandate to give thrust to new technologies.

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During its launch, the DICT unveiled its project dubbed “Pipol Konek,” which seeks to provide free Wi-Fi-access in selected public areas nationwide.

According to Undersecretary Eliseo M. Rio Jr., free Wi-Fi connectivity has been made available at all thirteen MRT-3 stations and along parts of Edsa since the celebration of Independence Day last June 12.

As rollout moves forward, all LRT and PNR terminal stations as well as the entire stretch of Edsa will be Wi-Fi-ready as well.

DICT plans to provide internet access to more than 100,000 public places nationwide by 2026, which will include municipalities and towns outside Metro Manila. The total number of beneficiary municipalities now stands at 1,435, with hotspots located at public parks, schools, hospitals and town halls.

This is one way of “bringing jobs to where the talents are,” said Rio, taking note that majority of new graduates come from the provinces.

While search engines, gaming and social networking websites can be accessed, pornographic websites and other pages of the same nature will be blocked.

There will also be an implemented data cap to ensure the sustainability of the project. There will be three available levels of connectivity for users with varying caps. As the cap increases, more personal information will be asked of the user for security purposes.

In addition, a national government portal has also been created that will serve as a one-stop shop for all government services, including access to forms and applications.

Undersecretary Denis Villorente said the website would become an access point for government data to citizens and a bid to make government transactions more transparent and efficient.

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The website (www.gov.ph) will have a common government platform where applications and databases can interoperate and enable data sharing among government agencies.

This means business permits, driver’s licenses, passports and other government requirements can now be processed in one website.

According to Villorente, the budget for DICT’s national broadband plan can go from P72 billion to P200 billion, depending on succeeding projects and studies.

Salalima stressed the importance of investing in ICTs, adding that contrary to the idea that modern technology and artificial intelligence would drive people out of employment, these would actually aid in improving education, employment and entrepreneurship.

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