House OKs Free Public Wi-Fi Act on second reading

The measure that will grant free public wi-fi access is only a few steps away from HoR approval 

The House of Representatives has approved on second reading a bill which seeks to address the country’s problem of interconnectivity by providing free wireless access points in all major public places.

House Bill 5225 or the proposed “Free Public Wi-Fi Act” mandates the government, including local government units (LGUs) and government-owned and -controlled corporations (GOCCs), to install broadband hotspots in public areas that will provide a stable and reliable wireless internet connection at all times, thereby encouraging discourse and trade in internet-related goods, services, and content.

Areas to be provided with broadband hotspots are all buildings of national government offices, including their regional and satellite offices, provincial capitols, and city and municipal halls; public primary and secondary schools; and buildings of state universities and colleges (SUCs).

Also covered by the bill are public libraries, parks and plazas; barangay reading centers; public hospitals and rural health units; and public transportation terminals such as airports, seaports, Metro Rail Transport (MRT)/Light Rail Transit (LRT) stations and public bus terminals.

In line with this measure, the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) will provide the internet connectivity necessary to comply with the provisions of the Act. The DICT shall also lead in the promotion and implementation of the government’s information and communications technology (ICT) industry development program which shall include the formulation of enabling policies and ensuring the establishment and maintenance of a national broadband infrastructure.

The committee on information and communications technology endorsed the bill for plenary approval. The bill is among the legislative priorities of the House and the Senate this 17th Congress.