Senate poised to pass bill on free public Wi-Fi
MANILA, Philippines – The Senate is expected to pass the measure that seeks to provide free public Wi-Fi in the country on Monday, March 13, while the House of Representatives will approve it on 2nd reading before session adjourns.
Senator Paolo Benigno Aquino IV said the Senate on Monday will approve on 3rd and final reading Senate Bill Number 1277 or the Free Internet Access in Public Places Act. Aquino is the principal sponsor of the measure.
In his sponsorship speech last December, the senator had said, "Under this act, all national and local government offices, public schools – from elementary to tertiary – public transport terminals, public hospitals, and public libraries will have free internet access."
House Majority Leader Rodolfo Fariñas, meanwhile, said they are set to approve their version of the bill on 2nd reading by Wednesday, March 15. He also said it will be approved on 3rd and final reading when they resume session on May 2.
According to Fariñas, the House and Senate leadership consider the proposal to provide free public Wi-Fi a priority bill.
During the 16th Congress, the House passed the measure on final reading and it was transmitted to the Senate. The Senate, however, only passed its measure of the bill on 2nd reading. (READ: Want free public Wi-Fi? Slash processing time of permits – DICT)
While the Senate bill specified mostly logistical provisions, the House version detailed the following key items:
- a minimum internet speed of 10 Mbps will be provided
- the internet connection shall not be restricted with passwords
- management of the public connection shall ensure the data privacy of users, in accordance with existing laws
Over P1.7 billion of the 2017 national budget has been allotted to the Department of Information and Communications Technology to provide free Wi-Fi in public areas. – Rappler.com