​Tarlac solon lauds Duterte for free wifi law

TARLAC CITY — Tarlac Second District Rep. Victor Yap yesterday​ ​lauded President Rodrigo Duterte for signing into law the Free Internet Access in Public Places Act last August 2.

Yap, Chairperson of the House Committee on Information and​ ​Communications Technology and one of the authors of the measure, was
elated that his vision of accessible internet to Filipinos is finally​ ​a reality.

“This is a monumental day for all of us. With this law, even citizens​ ​who cannot afford to avail of internet connection may have access to
the worldwide web. This law will serve to level the playing field for​ ​the big number of Filipinos who cannot afford to pay for an internet
connection, with those who can.” said Yap in a statement. He that the​ ​importance of internet in a democratic society and the avenue it
provides for the free-flow of ideas.

“Internet has become a crucial element for democratic participation.​ ​The digital space is the new arena for the clash of ideas. Almost
everyone goes to the internet to express their views on practically​ ​anything that happens in the world. The internet has become a very
powerful tool in shaping the society of today,” said said.

Duterte took a giant leap in bringing information technology to the​ ​people by signing Republic Act No. 10929, he added.

The new law mandates the local government units (LGUs) to provide free​ ​internet access in government offices and public places. The law
requires that the minimum internet speed per user be two megabits per​ ​second (2mbps). Further, use of available or unassigned spectrum may​ ​be granted to government agencies and private entities to ensure​ ​faster internet service to the people.

Areas to be provided with free public internet access are buildings of​ ​national and local government offices, public basic education
institutions, State Universities and Colleges (SUCs) and TESDA​ ​Technology Institutions. Also covered by the law 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 transport terminals.

Public-private participation is also being explored in the​ ​implementation of the law. To promote an efficient and cost-effective
delivery of the free internet access for public places, the DICT may​ ​partner with the private sector in the implementation of the Program.

Further, the DICT is tasked to streamline the process of application,​ ​renewal and release of permits and licenses needed for the
construction of infrastructure in coordination with the concerned​ ​national and local government agencies.

The program will be funded through the Free Public Internet Access​ ​Fund (FPIAF) under the management of the DICT. This fund shall be
collected from Spectrum Users Fees collected by the NTC and other​ ​sources to be identified by the DBM.

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