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Three far-flung islands in Zamboanga City gain access to free Wi-Fi

In bringing internet connectivity to the different communities and islands in the country, we aim to give hope and actual opportunities to Filipinos to have a better life by being digitally connected.

We all have heard real stories of children who climb mountains or cross rivers so they can go to school. Their perseverance is inspiring, but we ought to provide our youth better and safer learning opportunities. At the height of the Covid-19 pandemic, we were compelled to shift to alternative modes of learning, such as through modules for asynchronous learning or through online classes. It made us realize that we can actually bring learning to children even in the most remote areas if we are able to provide fast and reliable internet connectivity.

Last Oct. 8, Secretary Ivan John E. Uy led the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT), together with officials of Zamboanga City, in launching Free Wi-Fi sites, under the administration’s Broadband ng Masa initiative, in three far-flung islands of the city — Sacol, which is five kilometers away from Zamboanga City’s mainland, and two more nearby islands, Tigtabon and Pangapuyan.

Sacol, a geographically isolated island that houses four barangays, has been deprived of robust broadband infrastructure. Last June, DICT Region IX visited the island to assess the possibility of providing connectivity to the community. Technical work commenced in August and during installation, the DICT IX technical team discovered that the two nearby islands of Tigtabon and Pangapuyan, which also suffer from the lack of ICT infrastructure, can also be connected.

Now, free Wi-Fi can be accessed in four sites in Sacol Island, namely, Madrasah, Landang Laum Elementary School, Landang Laum Barangay Hall, and Landang Gua Elementary School; two sites in Pangapuyan, namely, Pangapuyan Elementary School and Pangapuyan Barangay Hall; and one in Tigtabon, at the Tigtabon Barangay Hall.

To complement the broadband connection, DICT also turned over tablets to each of the following schools: Landang Gua Elementary School, Sacol Island, Landang Laum Elementary School, Sacol Island, Tigtabon Elementary School, and Pangapuyan Elementary School.

Moreover, prior to the launch, DICT already conducted a hybrid training on Information, Media, and Internet Literacy at Sacol where participants watched the online live session at Landang Laum Multipurpose Hall.

During the launch, Secretary Uy shared in the joy and excitement of the people in finally getting free internet connection. He stressed that it is the right of every Filipino to have access to the internet as this will provide them a multitude of opportunities, such as online learning, telemedicine, and online banking. There are already 4,757 operational free Wi-Fi sites in all 17 regions of the country. This government service has been accessed by at least 2.1 million unique users. Over 100,000 free Wi-Fi sites are expected to be made operational by FY 2025 through the integration of the Provincial Infrastructure Network and Last Mile Connectivity, and the NBP backhaul, which shall provide connectivity to over 70 million unique users across the country.

This is the commitment of DICT — to provide fast and reliable free internet connectivity throughout the country, especially in hard-to-reach areas, through the Broadband ng Masa initiative, following the directive of President Ferdinand Marcos, Jr.

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