Recto wants 'free wifi' across Metro Manila

Posted at 05/22/2014 1:36 AM

MANILA -- Senator Ralph Recto has filed a new bill that will require the government to provide "free wireless Internet access" all over Metro Manila.

Under Senate Bill 2232, or the Free Metro Manila Wifi Act of 2014, the government will be mandated to provide free wireless Internet connection in all public buildings and national roads all over the National Capital Region.

Free wifi service will be installed in all national and local government offices; public hospitals and health centers; public schools including state colleges and universities; airports; public libraries; tollways and expressways, including Epifanio delos Santos Avenue (EDSA); the Port of Manila, and all railway stations, including those of the MRT and LRT.

Section 6 of the proposed legislation said public funds will be used for the project, particularly those of the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) and/or savings under the General Appropriations Act.

"For the Philippines to further establish itself as an emerging economy, a public broadband internet infrastructure must be in place beginning with NCR," Recto said.

Free broadband wifi access, however, won't be technically free because public funds will be used.

Section 6 of the proposed legislation said "any available funds of the NTC," including Spectrum User Fees will finance the project.

Recto also wants to tap "savings under the General Appropriations Act,"according to the bill.

The bill will need counterpart legislation in the lower House and the President's approval. -- with a report from Ruby Tayag, DZMM