Free Wi-Fi For All Program rolls out in San Juan City
MANILA, Philippines – Over 122,000 citizens of San Juan City are set to have access to free public Wi-Fi through the Department of Information and Communications Technology's (DICT) Free Wi-Fi for All Program.
Making San Juan a "smart city" was among San Juan City Mayor Francis Zamora's campaign promises. The vision was in response to San Juan being left behind by Pasig and Quezon City – cities that have been aggressively pushing for programs that promote themselves as smart and green cities of Metro Manila.
Zamora said that 3 Wi-Fi access sites would be operational as of Monday: the city library, which is inside city hall; San Juan City National High School in Barangay Corazon de Jesus; and the San Juan Mini Park in Barangay Tibagan. The high school and park are both close to the city hall.
Zamora added that the city government and DICT aim to cover all of San Juan's 21 barangays. Ninety-one more access sites are eyed by 2020. These sites will be located in barangay halls, health centers, public schools, and public parks.
According to DICT, 400 megabits per second (mbps) have been allocated for the entire city, with 10 mbps per access site, which usually allows for good web surfing.
The San Juan City government on Monday, September 23, signed a memorandum of agreement with the DICT, implementing the program in the first-class city.
The Monday signing effectively made San Juan City the first city in the country with large-scale free internet access, according to DICT. The P1.3-billion program aims to cover a total of 1,489 class 1 to class 6 municipalities and 145 cities in the country.
Based on DICT data 2,965 public spaces nationwide are supposed to have operational free Wi-Fi access sites as of September 2019. They added that around 5 million people have access to these sites.
The agency has to put up 5,108 more access sites by the end 2019 to reach its target of 8,073 sites for the year. It aims to establish over 100,000 sites nationwide by 2022.
The DICT in March formalized a partnership with the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) to fast-track the program. The UNDP was set to conduct area-based network analysis and monitor project impact.
But the Commission on Audit (COA) in July questioned the UNDP's involvement, saying the partnership was "not cost-effective" and would effectively require the government P64.861-million worth of service fees. – Rappler.com