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Philippines enacts law on free internet access in public places

Adrian M. Reodique | Aug. 7, 2017
President Rodrigo Duterte has signed the Republic Act 10929 or the Free Internet Access in Public Places Act last Wednesday.

Guy using smartphone
Credit: Graphicstock 

President Rodrigo Duterte last Wednesday (2 August 2017) signed into law Republic Act 10929 or the Free Internet Access in Public Places Act.

The free internet service will be made available in public places throughout the country, including:

 

  1. National and local government offices
  2. Public basic education institutions
  3. State universities and colleges (SUCs), and Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) technology institutions
  4. Public hospitals, health centres, and rural health units
  5. Public parks, plazas, libraries, and barangay reading centres
  6. Public airports and seaports
  7. Public transport terminals

However, the law suggests that free internet must be made available in public areas where the service is mostly needed, such as: 

  1. Computer laboratories and libraries in public basic education institutions and SUCs
  2. Main lobbies and hallways of public buildings or transport terminals
  3. Main assembly points in public parks, hospitals, and health centres.

The law mandates that the public be provided with 2 mbps internet speed or as prescribed by the National Broadband Plan (NBP). The NBP, which was approved by President Duterte last March, aims to provide every Filipino household with 10 mbps internet connection. 

The Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) will lead the implementation of the free internet programme. The DICT is currently rolling out Free Wi-Fi Internet Access in Public Places (FWPP) projects or Pipol Konek, which aims to provide internet service to more than 13,000 public places across 145 cities and 1,489 municipalities in the country.

 

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