Philippines to seek UN aid for free Wi-Fi program

29 Aug 2018

The Philippines government will seek aid from the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) to help support its goal of setting up a national free Wi-Fi network for public establishments including schools, public parks and government buildings.

The government has been having trouble implementing its new law requiring the provision of free nationwide Wi-Fi in public places, which was signed into law a year ago, due to a lack of infrastructure, the BusinessMirrorreported.

A plan to rely on the infrastructure from operators PLDT and Globe has encountered difficulties due to the operators' history of deploying infrastructure only in commercially viable areas.

It is now clear that the operators cannot meet the governments' demand for free Wi-Fi access points, according to the telecoms ministry.

To address this issue, the government plans to seek UNDP aid to help it bring in foreign companies and technology to establish a national free Wi-Fi network, and to train local engineers and operators on how to conduct Wi-Fi rollouts based on the experience of other countries with free Wi-Fi programs.

The government is already involved in an initiative to create a national fiber backbone through initiatives such as its three-way dark fiber partnership with the National Grid Corporation of the Philippines and National Transmission Corporation. This will also help address infrastructure deficiencies delaying the free Wi-Fi rollout.

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