A JOINT venture between Innove Communications and Yondu Solutions has won the contract to partly provide free Wi-Fi access, a project of the Department of Science and Technology.
The P74.84-million project, called the free Wi-Fi Internet Access in Public Places, uses points of presence or PoPs as backbone and distribution hubs for Internet connectivity and cover 967 municipalities.
The DOST- Information and Communications Technology (ICT) Office has awarded 14 PoPs to Innove and Yondu, both subsidiaries of Globe Telecom Inc.
The PoPs are as follows:
1) Tugegarao City, Cagayan
2) Dagupan City, Pangasinan
3) San Fernando City, Pampanga
4) Lipa/Batangas City, Batangas
5) Legazpi City, Albay
6) Puerto Princesa City, Palawan Visayas
7) Iloilo City, Iloilo
8) Cebu City, Cebu
9) Calbayog City, Samar
10) Tacloban City, Leyte Mindanao
11) Cagayan De Oro City, Misamis Oriental
12) Pagadian City, ARMM
13) Davao City, Davao del Sur
14) Zamboanga City, Zamboanga
The original plan to use Butuan City as one of the PoPs was changed to Cagayan de Oro City to maximize the coverage needed by the project.
The Connectivity of 967 Municipal Centers (MPoPs) was also auctioned off by the DOST-ICT. AZ Communications won the bid for 100 MPoPs across Regions 1 and 2.
So far, 867 municipalities remain without bidders, which leave more than 23 million people uncovered.
Undersecretary Louis Napoleon Casambre of the DOST-ICT is expecting the connectivity for all the sites to be sorted out within the year.
“We are inviting our ICT industry partners to participate in this project and help us narrow the digital divide. Service providers do not need a franchise if they are bidding on this project as the customer is the government,” Casambre said.
“We are also calling on international organizations and the private sector to aid the project, either directly or through their private sector partner’s corporate social responsibility (CSR) programs to adopt challenging sites,” He added.
Challenging sites are areas outside the reach of commercial Internet providers and telcos, either by virtue of terrain, economic capacity, or conflict. Some sites do not even have electricity.
A second round of the bidding for the various managed services is slated to begin this August.
The total budget for Municipal IP Transport Services (IPTM) for the remaining 867 municipalities is P226.06 million.
A crucial component of the project, the International IP Transport Service (IPTI), is also being auctioned off by the government. It is expected to provide up to 10 gigabits per second (Gbps) to 20 Gbps of bandwidth.
The budget for IPTI for the project is P129.60 million.
Pilot sites for free Wi-Fi were activated at the Luneta Park, Quezon Memorial Circle, LTO main office, SSS Members Assistance Center, Philippine Coconut Authority, MRT North Avenue Station, and the Quezon City Hall.