Government signs agreement to start public Wi-Fi project

MANILA, Philippine – The Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) on Friday, June 8, signed a tripartite agreement to start the national broadband project which aims to provide high-speed public Wi-Fi for Filipinos.

The DICT, the National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP), and the National Transmission Corporation (TransCo) signed the memorandum of agreement on Friday.

"This is [a] major milestone. We are very happy that this MOA was finally signed. This will also help hasten the processing of licenses, permits, clearances, and other government issuances nationwide," said TransCo President Melvin Matibag.

TransCo, a government-owned and controlled corporation, owns the transmission assets of the country's electricity grid.

Matibag said the agreement will jumpstart the work to build Wi-Fi connections in "public places, including parks, plazas, public libraries, schools, government offices, hospitals, train stations, airports, and seaports nationwide."

Matibag said the NGCP has allowed the government free use of dark fiber in the transmission lines.

"I am happy that despite our differences, NGCP and TransCo, as the concessionaire and the owner of the transmission facilities, have partnered to deliver this gift to the Filipino people. This is a fine example of government and the private sector joining hands to spur progress and development in the countryside," he said.

In August 2017, President Rodrigo Duterte signed the Free Internet Access in Public Places Act, which tasked the DICT to ensure minimum internet speed of 2Mbps for Filipinos who pay for the service.

The government aims to achieve a 10 Mbps internet speed by 2020.

Providing accessible and fast internet was among Duterte's promises in his first State of the Nation Address in 2016.