Free Wi-Fi Proposed For Conflict Areas In NegOr

The Negros Oriental Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Inc. (NOCCI) and the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) are proposing the establishment of free Wi-Fi connection in barangays affected by the communist insurgency problem in the province.

Dumaguete-based businessman Edward Du, currently the Central Visayas regional governor of the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCCI) and former NOCCI president made the proposal during the meeting of the Negros Oriental Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NOTF-ELCAC) held here on Tuesday afternoon.

Du told NOTF-ELCAC chair Governor Roel Degamo that their contribution to the government’s efforts to end the insurgency in the province would be to provide better communication access in remote villages that the military has classified as insurgency-affected or conflict areas.

Increasing communication accessibility would mean corresponding development in these areas because even the country’s two leading private telecommunications companies are not willing to risk their businesses due to the high-security threat in these villages, he pointed out.

He said that the NOCCI-DICT partnership has already been proven successful, having established free Wi-Fi zones in at least 36 public schools across the province.

The proposed project would mean that Capitol, or the NOTF-ELCAC, would shell out the fund for the acquisition of the necessary equipment, while DICT will provide the bandwidth, and NOCCI will offer its technology for free, Du explained.

Engr. Aurelio Tinapay of the provincial DICT also told the governor that they have 34 towers in Negros Oriental that the agency is offering as counterpart and for free use to the provincial government to set up their wireless radios to connect the bandwidth to the different municipal halls.

The role of the provincial government is to fund the wireless middle-mile infrastructure while the local government unit will spend for the last mile infrastructure to deliver the bandwidth to the barangay halls.

Du said that since the NOTF-ELCAC is visiting Guihulngan City next week, they are hoping that an announcement would be made to pilot the project in Barangay Trinidad there.

Degamo, in an interview after the meeting, said he is open to the proposal although funds have to be secured for this, considering there are 16 barangays and seven towns and cities in Negros Oriental that were initially identified as priority areas for the NOTF-ELCAC. (PNA)

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