P280M allotted for free Wi-Fi connectivity in state universities

The national government is investing P280 million to provide free Internet Wi-Fi connectivity in the country’s 114 state universities and colleges (SUCs), a member of the House appropriations committee said Sunday, Aug 12.

“We are counting on highly improved password-free Internet networks in SUCs to advance opportunities for learning and research, especially in their campuses in the provinces,” Makati City representative Luis Campos Jr. said.

Some 1.3 million students are currently enrolled in SUCs, Campos said.

Campos said the P280-million allotment for the Free Internet Wi-Fi Connectivity in SUCs Project is lodged in the budget of the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) in the proposed P3.757 trillion General Appropriations Act for 2019.

Campos is author of House Bill 5337, which seeks to classify broadband or high-speed Internet access as a basic telecommunications service.

Once the measure is enacted, the National Telecommunications Commission would be empowered to require Internet service providers to deliver rising average connection speeds within prescribed deadlines under pain of harsh regulatory fines.

The Philippines’ average Internet connection speed remains the slowest in Asia Pacific, according to Akamai Technologies.

In his 2019 Budget Message to Congress, President Duterte had vowed “to harness the power of information technology to deliver better services to our people and spur economic growth.”

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