Free Wi-Fi project off to good start as speed cap is lifted

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free wifi The P1.4-billion initiative was inaugurated by 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. The Wi-Fi connection at the launch venue hit as high as 50 Mbps as the ICT Office decided to get rid of the initial speed cap of 256 Kbps. A part of the ?Juan, Konek!? Digital Empowerment Program of the government, the project was earlier tested in select locations in Manila and Quezon City prior to its launch at the NSTW. The ICT Office said it chose to introduce the project in places that are frequently visited by people for leisure and official matters. These include the Quezon Memorial Circle, Quezon City Hall, the Philippine Coconut Authority (PCA) Building, the Social Security System (SSS) and Land Transportation Office (LTO) in Quezon City and Rizal Park in Manila. The project’s roll-out in the provinces is expected to be completed before the current year is out. The ICT Office?s project management team expects a maximum number of 4,550 concurrent users ? but is prepared to provide for and maintain the speed and connection quality for up to 105,000 users. The Free Wi-Fi Project will enable users to check their email, browse simple webpages, log onto social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter, and use messaging apps like Viber. E-services from government websites can also be accessed. To keep information secure, the network will implement a blacklist system that blocks potentially harmful and destructive websites. Casambre has underlined the need to increase the maximum limit of users to allow more Filipinos to access the Internet through the Free Wi-Fi service. To manage the estimated 117,000 users who will access the Free Wi-Fi service, 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,? Casambre stated. Casambre also emphasized that the free Wi-Fi Project will not compete with the existing offerings of commercial Internet service providers. In fact, he said it is a product of public-private partnerships (PPPs), with the aim to increase the market size for private providers. 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. ]]>

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