Folks in 2 Mindanao areas get free Wi-Fi
PAGADIAN CITY—Residents of at least two areas in Mindanao are enjoying free Internet connection courtesy of their local governments.
In this city, capital of the predominantly agricultural province of Zamboanga del Sur, wireless Internet connection will be free in the immediate surrounding of the local government center.
A similar service is available within the vicinity of a government-run arcade and bus terminal in Kapatagan, a rice-producing town in Lanao del Norte.
The first phase of Pagadian’s free Internet service distributes wireless signal within a 2.5-kilometer radius around City Hall. It was launched on March 28 during the city’s 75th founding anniversary.
The service is available 15 hours daily, from 5 p.m. to 8 a.m., powered by Globe, one of the country’s biggest mobile network service provider.
Pagadian Mayor Samuel Co, whose name is the password for access to the Wi-Fi service, said sector antennas would soon be installed in the city’s 19 villages to expand coverage of the wireless network.
Co said the project would benefit students by making the Internet available to them for free when they do research. It would also help young professionals seeking jobs and migrant workers “who need to regularly connect” with their families in Pagadian.
He said he also expected to see more residents engage in online marketing and other businesses through the Internet.
“The ultimate goal is for locals to have access to productive opportunities within or outside Pagadian by enhanced connectivity,” said Jay Apales, a spokesperson of the mayor.
Pagadian ranked seventh among 17 emergent cities in a 2009 competitiveness list by the Asian Institute of Management (AIM). It is the first local government to operate its own mall.
In Lanao del Norte, free wireless connection is among the attractions of the municipal government-run Kapatagan Town Center.
Carrying with them their laptops, students and young professionals are drawn into food shops in the arcade to enjoy free Internet service, usually from mid-afternoon to evening. Ryan D. Rosauro, Inquirer Mindanao
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