Bam: Measure on free internet in public spaces hurdles Senate

The Senate has approved on third and final reading a measure that will establish free internet in public places and help fast-track the processing of permits for needed infrastructure and equipment to boost connectivity.
Via 18-0 vote, the Senate passed Senate Bill No. 1277 or the Free Internet Access in Public Places Act, which aims to provide internet access in all national and local government offices, public schools, public transport terminals, public hospitals and public libraries.
“Access to the Internet is also access to more opportunities when it comes to livelihood, education and business. We want quality internet to be available to every Filipino,” said Sen. Bam Aquino, who sponsored and co-authored the measure as chairman of the Committee on Science and Technology.
Under the measure, the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) will be mandated to craft a plan and a timeline for the rollout of this program.
The measure also authorizes the DICT to cut red tape and streamline the process for the application of permits and certificates for the construction of infrastructure and installation of necessary equipment, in coordination with national government agencies and local government units.
In previous committee hearings, Sen. Bam said telecommunications providers have lamented the tedious and slow process in getting the needed permits and certificates for their infrastructure and equipment.
“Matapos maisumite ang kumpletong requirements, may pitong araw lang ang isang ahensiya o tanggapan na ilabas ang resulta ng aplikasyon. Kapag sila’y nabigo, maituturing nang aprub ang aplikasyon,” said Sen. Bam.
Aside from Sen. Bam, other authors of the measure are Sens. Francis Pangilinan, Manny Pacquiao, Ralph Recto, Joel Villanueva and Cynthia Villar. Co-sponsors were Sens. Grace Poe, Recto and Pangilinan.
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