MANILA - The government's push to provide free WiFi in the provinces hit a snag on Monday after the Philippine International Trading Corporation (PITC) rejected most of the submitted bids.
Of the bids for the 82 provinces, the PITC accepted only 19 for evaluation and rejected the rest for having incomplete requirements.
The Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT), however, said the firms with rejected bids can still join the rebidding process in April as most of them lacked only minor documents like tax clearances or municipal permits.
DICT Officer-in-Charge Eliseo Rio told DZMM that most of the bidders were small Internet Service Providers (ISPs) from the provinces who did not yet have any experience in bidding for government projects.
"Mga baguhan, 'di pa sila sanay sa pag-bid," Rio said.
He said the government was also looking to ensure that the bidders would be able to provide quality WiFi access instead of just putting up plenty of access points with poor service.
"Mas magandang pumalpak na [sila] ngayon kaysa pumalpak pag naka-install na," Rio said.
Despite this development, Rio also said he is optimistic the winning bidders will be able to set up their free WiFi networks within the first half of the year, or before the end of 2018 at the latest.
He also said he is confident the 19 valid bids would be awarded soon.
The government is looking to install around 7,000 WiFi access points in provincial areas this year. - Warren De Guzman, ABS-CBN News