January 2, 2024
CEBU CITY, Cebu, Philippines — Public schools, barangay halls, public markets, and gymnasiums in all 80 villages here now have free Wi-Fi connectivity but local officials have limited its use daily.
“One can directly connect to the internet for free without a password. [But] they can only surf an hour per day,” Conrado Ordesta III, assistant head of the Management Information and Computer Services (MICS), said.
He said the city government had allocated P8 million to fund its interconnectivity program. The free Wi-Fi hot spots in every village have a speed range of 200 megabits per second (Mbps).
The MICS has completed the system’s installation in 22 rural barangays to complete the full hotspot coverage of all 80 villages in Cebu City this month.
Ordesta said the program started last year when urban barangays were given access to public Wi-Fi.
Now, people in Cebu City can directly connect to the internet for free.“Right now, mountain barangays have their connections too,” Ordesta said.
When they are in school, students are given an hour of free internet connectivity using public hot spots.
According to a report from MICS, Barangay Lorega-San Miguel has the highest free internet connection utilization rate among the villages in the city.MICS monitors hot spot utilization in all the barangays using a dashboard provided by the service provider, PLDT.
Rep. Eduardo Rama Jr. of Cebu City’s South District authored the Wireless Internet Access for Educational Institution Ordinance when he was a member of the city council in 2018.
The ordinance aims to promote easy access to information and services relevant to the delivery of public services through the use of wireless internet; facilitate the mediums of learning and information technology through cost-efficient use of wireless internet; and facilitate competitiveness through information and communication technology among barangays.
“What does this mean for our education system? Accessibility to information in convenient and secure spaces inside the school where they can research on topics of interest or lessons for class. More knowledge and opportunities for those who are not able to afford expensive books,” said Rama in an earlier statement.
“We aim to someday be more at par with other schools throughout Southeast Asia by bridging that gap. Empowering the youth is the key to ensuring that Cebu continues to be the premier city of the south,” he added.