Philippines to get free WiFi at public places by 2016

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Free-Public-Wi-Fi-PhilippinesThe Philippine government is planning free WiFi services for nationwide coverage by end-2016, investing around $32 million a year. The service will be available in public areas such as schools, hospitals, airports and parks, according to Monchito Ibrahim, deputy executive director of the Information and Communications Technology Office.

The state-funded service is expected to limit data revenue prospects for telecom companies, most of all Philippine Long Distance Telephone Co. and Globe Telecom Inc.

“If subscribers move to using free public WiFi, telecoms may need to lure them into getting higher-end services,” Ibrahim said, referring to the country’s two main phone companies. The government’s “focus is on areas that absolutely don’t have access.”

The new service is expected to push data charges lower in the Philippines. Access to the Internet costs about $18 a megabit per second in the country, more than three times the global average of $5, according to research firm International Data Corp.

However, The government’s free WiFi service has its limitations. Speed is capped at a meager 256 kilobits per second, enough for basic Internet searches or access to Facebook, Ibrahim said. The government’s initiative comes as lawmakers investigate slow and expensive Internet connection in the Philippines, where broadband connectivity is only ahead of Afghanistan in Asia, according to IDC.

By contrast, Singapore started a free wireless service in 2006 that now offers speeds of as much as 2 megabits per second – eight times faster than the one planned in the Philippines. That’s enough for phone calls on the data network or video streaming, with the access offered at public places such as the airport, malls, hospitals and schools.

While offering free WiFi access is a step forward, what the country needs is a longer-term plan to improve Internet connectivity, Senator Bam Aquino, who heads the Senate trade and commerce committee, said last month. “What I’m looking for is really a major broadband plan,” he said.

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Reading Time: 2 minutes

The Philippine government is planning free WiFi services for nationwide coverage by end-2016, investing around $32 million a year. The service will be available in public areas such as schools, hospitals, airports and parks, according to Monchito Ibrahim, deputy executive director of the Information and Communications Technology Office.

Reading Time: 2 minutes

Free-Public-Wi-Fi-PhilippinesThe Philippine government is planning free WiFi services for nationwide coverage by end-2016, investing around $32 million a year. The service will be available in public areas such as schools, hospitals, airports and parks, according to Monchito Ibrahim, deputy executive director of the Information and Communications Technology Office.

The state-funded service is expected to limit data revenue prospects for telecom companies, most of all Philippine Long Distance Telephone Co. and Globe Telecom Inc.

“If subscribers move to using free public WiFi, telecoms may need to lure them into getting higher-end services,” Ibrahim said, referring to the country’s two main phone companies. The government’s “focus is on areas that absolutely don’t have access.”

The new service is expected to push data charges lower in the Philippines. Access to the Internet costs about $18 a megabit per second in the country, more than three times the global average of $5, according to research firm International Data Corp.

However, The government’s free WiFi service has its limitations. Speed is capped at a meager 256 kilobits per second, enough for basic Internet searches or access to Facebook, Ibrahim said. The government’s initiative comes as lawmakers investigate slow and expensive Internet connection in the Philippines, where broadband connectivity is only ahead of Afghanistan in Asia, according to IDC.

By contrast, Singapore started a free wireless service in 2006 that now offers speeds of as much as 2 megabits per second – eight times faster than the one planned in the Philippines. That’s enough for phone calls on the data network or video streaming, with the access offered at public places such as the airport, malls, hospitals and schools.

While offering free WiFi access is a step forward, what the country needs is a longer-term plan to improve Internet connectivity, Senator Bam Aquino, who heads the Senate trade and commerce committee, said last month. “What I’m looking for is really a major broadband plan,” he said.

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