DICT to tap LGUs in providing free internet to online learners

LEGAZPI CITY – The Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) is planning to tap the local government units (LGUs) and other government agencies in providing a free internet connection for students who will get educated through online classes this school year.

Engineer Antonio Bonganay, DICT-Albay head, admitted that their office alone could not provide sufficient free internet access because they have limited funds for higher bandwidth from their tapped private internet service providers in Albay and other provinces in Bicol.

He said they could not realign their budget allocations since these were approved before the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) pandemic broke out in March.

“We did not anticipate this coronavirus (Covid-19) that’s why we have limited allocation for the construction of more infrastructures and allocate fund for higher bandwidth,” Bonganay told the Philippine News Agency in an interview.

He said DICT would seek augmentation from the internet connection facilities of the different local governments in the province, including the facilities of other government agencies in providing wider free internet coverage.

Bonganay said LGUs could allow students residing in remote villages with zero or very weak internet connections to use their own internet connection facilities.

He said that next year, DICT would be giving budgetary priority to additional programs that would boost the free internet connection even in far-flung areas of the country.

“DICT might even push forward the idea for the government to construct its own infrastructure if only to provide wider internet connections for free. We will call this as the National Broadband project,” Bonganay added. (By Samuel Toledo and Connie Calipay, PNA)