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House to pass free public Wi-fi bill on second reading this week

/ 05:22 PM March 13, 2017

The House of Representatives is expected to pass on second reading its own version of the bill seeking to provide Wi-Fi access in public areas.

In a text message to reporters, majority leader Ilocos Norte Rep. Rudy Fariñas said the proposed Free Public Wi-Fi Act is set to be approved on second reading by March 15, or before Congress goes on recess.

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The bill is expected to be approved on third and final reading in May, when Congress resumes from its break, Fariñas added.

Fariñas said the bill is a priority bill as agreed by both chambers of Congress in the congressional bicameral leadership committee meetings.

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The Senate approved its own version on third and final reading on Monday.

READ: Senate approves free public Wi-Fi bill on final reading 

Once both Houses of Congress pass a similar version of a bill, the differing versions of the bill may be tackled in a bicameral conference before both chambers ratify the bill, paving the way for the President’s signature.

According to the bill pending in the lower house, the local government units and the government-owned and-controlled corporations are mandated to install broadband hot spots in public areas that would provide a stable and reliable wireless internet connection at all times.

Areas that should be provided with broadband hotspots are: all buildings of national government offices, including their regional and satellite offices, provincial capitol, and city and municipal halls; public primary and secondary schools; buildings of state universities and colleges; public libraries, parks and plazas; barangay reading centers; public hospitals and rural health units; and public transportation terminals such as airports, seaports, Metro Rail Transit (MRT)/Light Rail Transit (LRT) stations and public bus terminals.

The bill mandates the Department of Information and Communications Technology to ensure a minimum internet speed of 10 megabits per second (Mbps).

The bill also requires respect for the privacy of citizens who use the public broadband hotspots.

The public broadband hotspot should not be used to collect users’ data, according to the bill. JE/rga

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TAGS: bill, free internet, House of Representatives, Internet, public internet, Senate, wi-fi
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