Economy


Free Wi-Fi for 2017 to cost P3 billion; 13,000 sites planned




Posted on June 14, 2017


THE GOVERNMENT is spending P3 billion to provide free internet access with a target of 13,000 sites nationwide this year.

In Metro Manila, part of Department of Information and Communications Technology efforts involve providing free Wi-Fi access to the city’s major rail transit systems this year starting off at the Metro Rail Transit Line 3 stations. -- BW FILE PHOTO
The planned free Wi-Fi service in public places was one of the promises made by President Rodrigo R. Duterte in his first State of the Nation Address last year, along with the creation of the National Broadband Network and a one-stop government data center where online applications for various official documents can be filed.

“At the moment, what’s programmed is 13,000 sites before the end of the year. Right now, there are 318 active sites nationwide, there was a learning period initially but after that, it will be easier to put up the rest,” Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) Undersecretary Eliseo M. Rio said in a recent interview.

“[Estimated cost] is around P3 billion for the 13,000 sites,” he added.

The free wireless Internet service will be made available in public areas such as schools, hospitals, airports and parks, among others.

Mr. Rio said the planned 13,000 sites will be spread nationwide including in key cities and rural areas in Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao.

In Metro Manila, part of its efforts involve providing free Wi-Fi access to the city’s major rail transit systems this year starting off at the Metro Rail Transit Line 3 (MRT-3) stations.

The DICT will make Wi-Fi available at all the 13 stations of MRT-3 from Taft Avenue in Pasay to North Avenue station in Quezon City and on the “street level” covering EDSA from Guadalupe to Cubao.

The second stage will cover EDSA from Cubao to North Avenue and from Guadalupe to Taft Avenue, which is the entire length of MRT-3. This is targeted to be operational before President Rodrigo R. Duterte delivers his second State of the Nation Address on July 24, while the last stage will cover the entire 24-kilometer stretch of EDSA, Metro Manila’s busiest thoroughfare, outside the reach of MRT-3 from the Mall of Asia area in Pasay to Balintawak, targeted for completion by August.

After the MRT-3, the plan is to look at how the same service will be made available in the other rail systems such as the Light Rail Transit Line 1 (LRT-1) covering the Roosevelt station in Quezon City to Baclaran station in Pasay City, and LRT-2 which runs from Santolan in Pasig City to Recto in Manila.

The free internet access in LRT-1 is targeted for operation by August. The LRT-2 service’s target is before December. -- Imee Charlee C. Delavin