DICT told: Improve free Internet act rollout

It is also eyed to promote knowledge-building among citizens and enable them to participate and compete in the evolving information and communication age

A lawmaker on Monday stressed that the Department of the Information and Communications Technology should ensure the provision of Internet connection in public places and educational institutions according to its target.

Senator Sherwin Gatchalian disclosed that only 1.8 percent of public schools nationwide have access to free public WiFi.

“Our learners are the ones who will greatly benefit from this because it will improve the flow of information, especially for our poorest constituents,” said Gatchalian, who also chairs the Senate Committee on Basic Education.

In his interpellation during the Senate plenary deliberation of the DICT’s 2023 budget, the lawmaker strongly urged DICT to fully implement the Republic Act 10929 or the Free Internet Access in Public Places Act which seeks to establish a program that will provide free access to Internet service in public places throughout the country.

It is also eyed to promote knowledge-building among citizens and enable them to participate and compete in the evolving information and communication age.

Citing the Free Public WiFi Dashboard, Gatchalian said only 1,190 or 2.5 percent out of at least 47,612 public schools nationwide have free public WiFi in October 2021. It further decreased to 945 or 2 percent by January this year.

The lawmaker pointed out the need to improve the execution of RA 10929 as the country shifted into digitalization.


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