THE PLDT group announced on Wednesday that it was tapped by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) for the rollout of public WiFi in 220 state universities and colleges in the country.

The flagship project aims to “further boost the online and blended learning programs of the education sector,” PLDT said in an e-mailed statement.

The project was launched at the Bulacan Polytechnic College in San Jose del Monte, Bulacan with a simultaneous online screening at Nueva Vizcaya State University on June 7.

The free WiFi project is DICT’s digital empowerment initiative aimed at connecting Filipinos nationwide in accordance with Republic Act No. 10929 or the Free Internet Access in Public Places Act.

Under the law, the project should cover all government hospitals and health centers; national and local government offices; public libraries; public parks, plazas, and other open areas; public schools; state universities and colleges along with TESDA (Technical Education and Skills Development Authority) institutions; and transport terminals.

“Among the key objectives of the Free WiFi project is to contribute to the progress of several SDGs (sustainable development goals). It’s strategic that we partnered with UNDP because it’s clear to them, which of the goals we are targeting,” DICT Acting Secretary Emmanuel Rey R. Caintic said.

UNDP Resident Representative Selva Ramachandra said that part of the organization’s mission is to promote inclusive quality education and to bridge the digital divide, especially in the academic sector.

“This initiative strives to enable public higher education institutions and their students to access and participate in opportunities for economic development.”

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