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Bill providing free Wi-Fi connection in PH public places approved

/ 03:17 PM June 12, 2015
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AFP FILE PHOTO

The House of Representatives has approved on third and final reading a bill providing free Wi-Fi connection in all public spaces in the country.

House Bill 5791, titled “An Act providing free public wireless Internet access in public buildings, terminals, parks and plazas throughout the country”, was approved by all 211 solons present on the floor on Tuesday.

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According to the bill, all public spaces – government offices (national government offices, regional and satellite offices, provincial capitols and municipal halls), state universities and colleges, parks and plazas, public hospitals, and public transportation terminals like airports, seapoarts and bus stations – will be provided with stable broadband hotspots for free.

The bill wants all public spaces be installed with wireless Internet connection within two years after the implementation of the bill if approved into law.

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The bill said the Internet should not be restricted with passwords, unless necessary to avoid security risks. In cases of restricting access, the netizen should still be provided with the password.

The free Wi-Fi connection should also not be used to collect personal information from the public, the bill said.

The Information and Communications Technology Office of the Department of Science and Technology is the lead agency to provide the Internet connectivity required under the bill.

If the DOST is unable to provide the wireless Internet connection, the commercial Internet service providers would be tapped to provide the free services.

The authors of the bill are Kabataan Rep. Terry Ridon, Camiguin Rep. Xavier Jesus D. Romualdo, Buhay Rep. Mariano Michael M. Velarde Jr., Cavite Rep. Francis Gerald Aguinaldo Abaya, Makati Rep. Monique Yazmin Q. Lagdameo, Act Teachers Rep. Antonio L. Tinio, and Abakada Rep. Jonathan A. Dela Cruz.

The country is known to suffer from one of the slowest but most expensive Internet connection in Asia.

According to the latest household download index by Internet broadband testing company Ookla, the country has the second slowest download speed in Asia at 3.64 megabit per second (mbps), next to Afghanistan with 2.52 mbps. The country ranked 176th out of 202 countries with an average download speed of 3.64 megabit per second (mbps), below the average broadband speed of 23.3 mbps.

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Menwhile, the Philippines ranked 178th in terms of upload speed at 1.54 mbps, way below the average of 10.6 mbps.

Internet in the Philippines is also one of the most expensive with an average value of $18.19 per mbps, exceeding the average global cost of $5.21. The recent Ookla speed test compared and ranked broadband speeds from April 18 to May 17.

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TOPICS: Broadband, House of Representatives, Internet, legislation, Public Wi-Fi, technology
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