Undersecretary Eliseo M. Rio Jr. and Assistant Secretary Ivin Ronald Alzona of the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) witnessed the contract signing ceremony between the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), Speedcast and PHILCOMSAT to install, operate and maintain free public internet service for 3,000 remote sites all over the Philippines.
This flagship project aims to bridge the digital divide by connecting Filipinos from far-flung, at-risk and vulnerable areas across the country.
In his remarks, Usec. Rio noted that “the DICT is optimistic that the goal of providing free internet for knowledge building among citizens to enable them to participate and compete in evolving information and communication technology will soon be realized.”
Through a rigorous open procurement process open to international and national companies, the contract was awarded to Speedcast, an Australian based company with over 20 years of communications satellite technology experience, in a teaming agreement with PHILCOMSAT, a Philippine satellite pioneer and wholly-owned subsidiary of the Philippine Overseas Telecommunication Corporation (POTC).
The DICT tapped UNDP’s support in expediting project delivery and further expanding the internet access to cover targeted remote areas where connectivity is most needed.
For over 25 years, UNDP has a proven track record working with partner governments around the world on internet connectivity infrastructure and digital transformation projects. Through these partnerships, the UNDP ensures that government projects promote the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals.
UNDP Philippines’ Resident Representative Titon Mitra noted that “UNDP seeks to support DICT in its mission to reach the furthest first and to ensure that no one is left behind. The collaboration allows UNDP to draw on its global expertise and experience in connecting remote communities and empowering citizens by providing them access to information.”