Duterte signs law providing free internet in public places

MANILA, Philippines – Filipinos can expect to gain free Internet access when they visit any public establishment in the Philippines after President Rodrigo Duterte signed Republic Act No 10929.

The new law, signed by Duterte on Wednesday, August 3, creates a “Free Internet Access Program” in all public places in the country.

The Department of Information and Communication Technology, as the lead agency, is ordered to ensure there is free internet service in the following areas:

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While it would be ideal for all areas in these establishments to have Wi-Fi, the law states that, at the very least, internet should be available in main areas or rooms where internet access is expected. 

These areas include:

The law requires that signages to indicate free Wi-Fi be placed in conspicuous parts of the area.

The DICT is tasked to make sure that each user experiences a minimum internet speed of 2 Mbps or the speed requirement indicated in the National Broadband Plan, which Duterte approved last March. 

In the plan, the goal is to provide connections of at least 10 Mbps to subscribers by 2020.

DICT is also authorized to partner with the private sector to implement the Free Internet Access Program.

To provide financing for the program, the law also created the Free Pubic Internet Acces Fund to be managed by DICT. Funds for this will come from the Spectrum Users Fees collected by the National Telecommunication Commission and other sources to be identified by the Department of Budget and Management.

Providing accessible and fast internet was among President Duterte's promises in his first State of the Nation Address in 2016. – Rappler.com

Pia Ranada

Pia Ranada covers the Office of the President and Bangsamoro regional issues for Rappler. While helping out with desk duties, she also watches the environment sector and the local government of Quezon City. For tips or story suggestions, you can reach her at pia.ranada@rappler.com.

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