Senate approves free public Wi-Fi bill on final reading | Inquirer News

Senate approves free public Wi-Fi bill on final reading

By: - Reporter / @MAgerINQ
/ 04:39 PM March 13, 2017

The Senate has unanimously approved on third and final reading a bill that would provide free internet access in public places and government offices throughout the country.

Eighteen senators voted to pass on Monday Senate Bill No. 1277 or “An Act establishing the free internet access program in public spaces in the country and appropriating funds thereof.”

Under the bill, free Wi-Fi access should be established in the following public places and government offices:

  • All national and local government offices
  • Public basic education institutions
  • State universities and colleges
  • Public hospitals and health centers
  • Public parks, plazas, and libraries;
  • Public airports, seaports; and
  • Public transport terminals.

“The internet service provided in the Program shall be separate from the internet service used for backend computer systems and programs, databases, and/or management and information systems in government offices. Provided that the shared use of infrastructure shall not be prohibited,” the bill said.


Senate Pro Tempore Ralph Recto, one of the original proponents and now a co-sponsor of the bill, said the passage of the measure would not only make internet services available to all Filipinos but it would also make sure that broadband services are faster and more efficient.

“The benchmark in gauging effectivity is not just the number of Wi-Fi spots but also Internet speed,” Recto said in a statement.

“If Internet is a human right, then Wi-Fi is a basic public service. But for it to become one, the hindrances which bar its full enjoyment by the people must first be removed.”

Recto said that by end of the year, it was projected that 13,024 sites covered by 18 Points of Presence in 1,489 towns and 145 under the Free Public Wi-Fi Project are up and running. He said the funding came from the P4.8 billion appropriated since 2015.

For this year and next, he said, 1,880 public elementary schools, 2,688 public high schools, and 682 state colleges are targeted for connection.

Overall, the project aims to roll out 23,631 sites by 2018, expanding it four-fold to 100,349 by 2026, said the senator.


“Others may deride free public Wi-Fi hotspots as populist-driven conveniences. Sadly, those who embrace this falsehood have not been able to fully grasp the empowering potential of ICT,” Recto said.

“Because the only way to view free Wi-Fi hotspots, my friends, is to treat them for what they are – as a form of ‘liberation technology,'” he added. JE/rga


Bill providing free Wi-Fi connection in PH public places approved

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Bam Aquino seeks to speed up provision of free Wi-Fi in public places

TAGS: approve, Internet, public Wi-Fi, Senate, wi-fi, wifi

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