The Department of Science and Technology (DoST) in Philippines announced yesterday (Sept 3) that it is targeting to fully implement free public Wi-Fi nationwide by the end of 2015.
Speaking at the House Committee on Appropriations, Undersecretary Louis Napoleon Casambre said the free Wi-Fi program is currently 25 percent complete since its launch earlier in July.
The free Wi-Fi service will cover 7,118 sites across the country, spanning 43 cities and 967 municipalities. The sites will include plazas, parks, public schools and libraries, government offices, hospitals, and transport terminals such as rail stations, seaports and airports.
Of the targeted 43 cities, 23 have already been awarded free Wi-Fi connectivity, according to the government agency.
It added that it has also removed the cap of 256 Kilobytes per second on Internet access. Nonetheless, the bandwidth capacity will still remain the same. This means that if only one person is utilising the hotspot, then the user will be able to enjoy "full speed".
DoST also announced that it intends to roll out Offline Internet for Remote Areas (OIRA) in 2016 to serve the people in remote areas who do not have access to the Internet yet. This service enables the transmission of static information to far-flung areas to allow users to access information offline such as maps and books.
The free public Wi-Fi service currently has a budget of Php 1.4 billion (US$29 million) for this year. For 2016, DoST is proposing an increased budget of Php 1.6 billion (US$34 million) for the maintenance of Wi-Fi hotspot sites and the implementation of OIRA.
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