Press Release
September 8, 2016

Excerpts of Sen. Grace Poe's questions re public Wi-Fi

Poe: Aside from having it as my campaign promise, I think that this is probably one of the most relevant concerns not only of the young but of everybody. Interconnectivity. And we are confident since you're (Sen. Bam Aquino) the one chairing it.

Poe: With the Department of Education, how many public high schools do we have in the country?

DepEd's Alain Pascua: We have about 38, 666 elementary schools and about 8,086 high schools.

Poe: So about 8,000 high schools. Am I correct?

Pascua: Yes ma'am. That's the total number of high schools ma'am.

Poe: And how many of those high schools will you be able to connect? Half of them?

Pascua: About 4, 359 are already connected to the internet ma'am.

Poe: Already connected? Meaning do you have a program for the remaining balance?

Pascua: Yes we have ma'am. But the difficulty here is not the program of the Department of Education but of the availability of the internet connection in those areas.

Poe: For our state universities and colleges, who can speak for how many we have? So will all the state universities and colleges be connected? I can imagine there are areas that have Wi-Fi service.

Pascua: Your honor, regarding the universities and state colleges my recollection is there are around 117 SUCs not counting the individual campuses because each SUC will have multiple campuses. But in our free Wi-Fi project we will cover 347 of them. So campuses, at the campus level po kasi.

Poe: Meaning, most of them will have it? Most of these state universities will have it if it's worth 117 and you've covered 347 which includes other campuses. What regulation do you have for the state universities? Will all students have accessibility at all times or is there a condition on how they can access the free Wi-Fi service?

Pascua: It will be the same service level so 3 tiers of service. If you.... get 50mb per day, if... you get either 100mb or 200mb per day. In terms of capacity, for state universities and colleges we are providing minimum of 14mbps, maximum of 38mbps and that is dependent on the population of each campus.

Poe: For Secretary Salalima, I appreciate that you've mentioned that you're drafting an Executive Order that will harmonize our efforts with the local government units to be able to process permits immediately with the very vital term if it's for public services. So this is the committee that I'm leading, Public Services Committee, and as you know in the news lately we've been talking about Emergency Powers for the president when it comes to traffic and short of having an emergency power for connectivity, you know it's always been in the pipeline to have a National Broadband Service for the country which will make it easy for most of us to get connected. So my question is for you, as we are drafting this proposed law, do you see any reason, I mean I might as well just ask since we're here, do you see any reason that we need emergency powers to be able to roll out our programs for digitization and internet service and also strengthening our cell signals all over the country?

DICT's Rodolfo Salalima: The factual appreciation as to whether or not we need emergency powers in transportation I think would be better left to Sec. Tugade but let me add that I was informed by General R... because of the traffic congestion in Metro Manila on a daily basis we are losing some...

Poe: No sir, my question was about telcos and internet. Do we need emergency powers to fast track our programs for the National Broadband Service or interconnectivity without the hindrance of an LGU regulation?

Sec. Salalima: Hindi po naman. I think we can manage with an executive order and hopefully we can get a legislation from Congress.

Poe: And the reason why I bring this up also so that it will awaken our partners in the LGU. Instead of actually losing total control over this, it's better that we cooperate and we intend to draft a bill that will not only fast track getting permits from all of these different LGUs from 25 different permits to maybe just a few and to make sure that the duration of the permit is more than just a year unless certain violations are made then you can easily recall it because I think it's unreasonable. How many cell sites do we have? Like 22,000 or something like that? 25,000 all over the Philippines?

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