A Senate Bill No. 2232 or the “Free Metro Manila WiFi Act of 2014” has been filed at the Senate by Senate President Pro Tempore Ralph Recto. This will mandate the government to provide free wireless internet access in key locations in the National Capital Region or the NCR.
It is said on the bill’s explanatory note by Senator Recto that “For the Philippines to further establish itself as an emerging economy, a public broadband internet infrastructure must be in place beginning with NCR. Providing free internet access to public buildings and facilities in the national capital will also ensure that our growing labor force will be updated with employment opportunities.”
“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.”
Areas that will be provided with broadband hotpots in National Capital Region (NCR) shall include, but not limited to the following:
- All national and local government offices;
- Public health centers and hospitals;
- Public Elementary and High Schools, and State Colleges and Universities;
- Public Parks;
- Ninoy Aquino International Airport (Terminals I, II, II, and IV);
- Public Libraries;
- Tollways and Expressways (North Luzon Expressway, South Luzon Expressway, Metro Mnila Skyway, and Manila-Cavite Expressway);
- Epifanio de los Santos Avenue (EDSA) and other national roads;
- Public transport terminals;
- Port of Manila; and
- Rail Transit Stations (LRT Line 1, MRT Line 2, MRT Line 3, and PNR Southrail).
According to the bill, the WiFi hotspots will use existing commercial ISPs until such time that a national broadband system has been installed. Funds from the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) and/or savings under the General Appropriations Act will be used for the said project. For more information about this bill you can find its entirety at Recto’s Free WiFi in Metro Manila Bill (SB2232).