Free public Wi-Fi bill gets Senate approval

 Free wi-fi connection in public places across the country is now closer to reality

The measure that will secure free Internet access in public places nationwide has been approved on third and final reading in the Senate. House Bill No. 5225 or the Free Public Wi-Fi Act of 2017, its counterpart bill in the House of Representatives (HoR) has reached second reading approval. HoR is set to pass the same measure on final reading when session resumes in May.

Senate Bill No. 1277 or the Free Internet Access in Public Places Act, which was sponsored by Senator Bam Aquino, earned 18 votes, no negative vote and no abstention. The bill is seen to complement the government’s approved P75-billion national broadband plan to help improve Internet access across the country.

Under the bill, free Wi-Fi access should be established in the following public places and government offices:All national and local government offices

  • Public basic education institutions
  • State universities and colleges
  • Public hospitals and health centers
  • Public parks, plazas, and libraries
  • Public airports, seaports and
  • Public transport terminals

The Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) shall be the lead agency tasked to implement the Free Public Internet Access Program and set standards and qualifications in determining the public spaces and government offices to be included and prioritized.