The Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) and ComClark Network and Technology Corp. have partnered to provide free internet access to over 2,000 geographically isolated and disadvantaged areas (GIDA) in the Philippines. The project, called the Universal Internet Subscription for GIDA (UISG) Project, was launched on November 21, 2023.
The Free Public Internet Access Program aims to bridge the digital divide and connect Filipinos to the opportunities offered by the digital economy. The collaboration between DICT and ComClark exemplifies their commitment to making this vision a reality and ensuring that the benefits of the digital revolution reach all corners of the country.
The UISG Project will deploy fixed VSATs (satellite communications), fiber technology, and satellite-communications-on-the-move terminals to the identified GIDA areas. This infrastructure will help the DICT support other government agencies and local government units during calamities and emergencies. A significant 145 gigabits bandwidth capacity has been allocated for this project.
For areas with suitable geographical terrain, fiber-enabled access points will be established. These access points number around 1,400 sites. Hilly and mountainous areas will be serviced with fixed VSATs, providing satellite-enabled connectivity to far-flung and isolated communities nationwide. Additionally, 34 SatCom on the Satellite-on-the-Move terminals will be deployed, which are powerful and portable antennas ideal for disaster and emergency response.
The UISG Project currently tracks 4,741 active sites in 1,871 locations, providing connectivity across all 17 regions of the country. So far, these access points have allowed the public to consume a total of 806TB of internet data. The project is being implemented with the support of We Are IT Philippines, Inc. and Telered Technologies and Services Corp.
The project is progressing well, with 97% of the sites already activated and expected to be completed by the end of the year. This initiative holds great promise in bringing internet connectivity to marginalized communities and leveling the digital playing field for all Filipinos.