Duterte signs law on free internet access

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, August 2) — Soon, there will be free internet access in public places.

President Rodrigo Duterte on Wednesday signed into law Republic Act 10929, also known as the Free Public Internet Access Program. This covers public places like government offices, state universities, hospitals, and parks, among many others.

The funding for the project will come from the Free Public Internet Access Fund, under the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT).

Sen. Bam Aquino, principal sponsor of the bill, said this would expand internet access to include public schools which could enhance learning.

"There is also a provision for faster permitting for internet infrastructure, which is a key feature in the law to improve infrastructure development," Aquino added.

READ: Nat'l Broadband Plan: Faster, more accessible internet in 2-3 years

According to the International Communications Union, only 44 million, or 43.5 percent of Filipinos, have internet access as of 2016.

Meanwhile, Kabataan Partylist also lauded the new law, and added the telecom "duopoly" should also be investigated to improve the internet speed in the country.

"National industries should be asserted for public infrastructure free from the strings of profiteering. We also must ensure the users' rights to privacy upon use and date collection of the public internet services," the partylist statement said.

The Philippines has the lowest internet speed among a number of Asia-Pacific countries, according to an internet monitoring group.

READ: PH slowest internet in Asia-Pacific, but there is hope - report