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TECH NEWS | State universities, colleges get P280M budget for free Internet Wi-Fi

MANILA, PHILIPPINES — The national government is investing P280 million to provide free Internet Wi-Fi connectivity in the country’s 114 state universities and colleges (SUCs), Makati City Rep. Luis Campos Jr., a member of the House appropriations committee, said Sunday.

“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,” Campos 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 has been batting for greater public access to high-speed Internet networks.

He 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 Inc.

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.”

The President had also indicated in his July 23 State of the Nation Address that he is bent on bringing in a third telecommunications market participant by year’s end to provide effective competition in the delivery of high-speed Internet services at lower prices.

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