MANILA — An act that would mandate the government to provide free wireless internet access in key locations in the National Capital Region was recently filed by Senate President Pro Tempore Ralph Recto in the Senate.
Senate Bill No. 2232 or the “Free Metro Manila WiFi Act of 2014 will provide free internet access to public buildings and facilities, parks and national roads in the metropolis with broadband hotspots that will offer a stable internet connection to encourage discourse and trade in internet-related goods, services and content.
While the entire country is still eyeing for the installation of a national broadband in the country, the said project will be using existing commercial ISPs.
The said project will be using funds from the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) and from savings under the General Appropriations Act.
The national and local government offices, public hospitals and health centers, public schools including state colleges and universities, public parks, the Ninoy Aquino International Airport, public libraries, tollways and expressways, Epifanio delos Santos Avenue (EDSA) and other national roads, public transport terminals, the Port of Manila and railway stations, including those of MRT and LRT, are among the key areas which will be provided with broadband hotspots.
The bill also specifically mandates that the said public places be guaranteed with a range of broadband hotspot for a period of two years and that there should not be any password restrictions and fees should not be collected from the users upon using the internet connection.
Recto emphasized in the bill’s explanatory note the importance of providing internet access to those living in the country’s capital region.
“Allowing free wireless internet access in key public places in NCR means providing access to the underserved in our society, including getting low-income people online,” Recto explained.
“Connectivity to the internet will enhance business growth opportunities and will assure citizens in NCR ease of sourcing timely information at the click of a button,” Recto added.
With reports from Jojo Malig and Louis Bacani