The government has projected an extensive free Wi-Fi project in public places. The Department of Science and Technology (DOST) formally launched the program during the National Science and Technology Week at the SMX in Pasay City on Friday, July 22, and it got off to an exciting start.
Senate science and technology committee chair Ralph Recto, together with DOST sec. Mario Montejo, ICT Office executive director Louis Casambre, and ICT Office deputy executive director Nicolas Ojeda lead the inauguration of this P1.4-billion initiative.
During the said launch, the Wi-Fi connection at the venue hit as high as 50 Mbps since ICT Office decided to get rid of the initial speed cap of 256 Kbps.
Prior to its launch at the NSTW, the project was already tested in select locations in Manila and Quezon City. This project is part of the “Juan, Konek!” Digital Empowerment Program of the government.
According to the ICT Office, the project was chosen to be introducing in places such as Quezon City Hall, the Social Security System (SSS), the Philippine Coconut Authority (PCA) Building, Land Transportation Office (LTO) in Quezon City, the Quezon Memorial Circle, and Rizal Park in Manila. These places are frequently visited by people for whether for ease or business matters.
Before the current year is out, the project’s roll-out is anticipated to be completed in the provinces.
The ICT Office’s project management team is prepared to provide for and maintain the speed and connection quality for up to 105,000 users though only a maximum number of 4,550 concurrent users are presumed.
With the Free Wi-Fi Project, users will be able to browse simple web pages, check their email, and use messaging apps like Viber and log onto social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter.
Aside from the popular social media sites, E-services from government websites will be accessible. The network will implement a blacklist system that blocks potentially harmful and destructive websites, to keep users’ information secure.
Casambre has stressed the need to increase the maximum limit of users to allow more Filipinos to access the Internet through the Free Wi-Fi service. It is an estimate of 117,000 users who will access the Free Wi-Fi service and to manage that, the Fair Usage Policy, which limits the daily usage by data cap of 50 MB per day, will be put into place.
“We have to put in a fair usage policy because this is a public service. We have to ensure that it is accessible to as many people as possible,” he said.
He also highlighted that it is not the aim of the free Wi-Fi Project to compete with the existing offerings of commercial Internet service providers but to increase the market size for private providers. According to him, the said project is a product of public-private partnerships (PPPs).
Being under the PPP program, officials said the government partnered only with local Internet providers, paying for their services in the chosen locations. It also did not put up any telecom infrastructure as it left this task to its private sector partners.
Under the public-private partnerships program, officials said the government partnered only with local Internet providers, and the services in the chosen locations will be paid. There was no telecom infrastructure that was built since this task is to be performed by its private sector partners.