Senate considers to up DOST’s Public Wi-Fi Program budget to P3 Billion


The Senate version of the 2015 Philippine national budget will include funds for the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) program to provide public WiFi hotspots across the Philippine archipelago. That said, an Internet access can aid learning, link farmers and traders to markets, and connect the public to information that will improve their lives.

According to a press statement, the Senate President Pro Tempore Ralph Recto stated on Friday, November 21st, that the Senate finance committee has recommended to up next year’s budget of DOST’s Public Wi-Fi Program from P338 million (around $7.5 million) to P3 billion ($66.65 million).

Recto, chair of the finance subcommittee in charge of the proposed 2015 DOST budget and sponsor of the aforementioned amendment project, said that the availability of more WiFi hotspots in the country will help link farmers and traders to markets, aid learning, and provide Filipinos an access to helpful and real-time information.

The DOST lists 50,872 free Wi-Fi spots across the country, from which the initial roll out is scheduled to be launched some time in 2015.

Amongst the beneficiaries of the DOST’s Public Wi-Fi Program includes 7,917 public high schools, a 38,694 public elementary schools, as well as 113 state-run colleges, around 1,118 public libraries, and public spaces in 1,490 municipalities. Moreover, the public WiFi spots will also be installed in Public Employment Service Offices to help the jobless search for employment.

In the blueprint drafted by the DOST, Wi-Fi connectivity will eventually be installed across the 895 provincial, regional hospitals, and government-run medical centers in National Capital Region (NCR).

“The reason behind this is that if you’re a son of an OFW and you would like to Skype with your father who is in the Middle East because a member of the family has been stricken ill, then you can do it within the hospital premises, Or if the hospital staff would like to transmit patient data, then there’s a facility for that.

DOT has declared 2015 as Visit Philippines Year. Not only that, we are expecting visitors ranging from the Pope to Putin. If we’re expecting millions more travelers, then among the convenience we can offer them is free Wi-Fi”

— Senate President Pro Tempore Ralph Recto

Recto said more free Wifi hotpots in the country would further complement the Department of Tourism (DOT)’s declaration of 2015 as “Visit Philippines Year” and the arrival of VIP state guests in 2015.

That said, Recto was referring Pope Francis Papal visit to the Philippines on the third week of January, and Russian leader Vladimir Putin will join 20 other Pacific Rim leaders as the Philippine will be hosting the 2015’s Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Leaders’ Summit on November. — The Centrio Times

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