Tech News: EDSA finally becomes a free Wi-Fi zone

Image from Wikimedia Commons

The busiest avenue in the country is now on its way to becoming an actual information highway.

The Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) has activated the first phase of a project that offers free public Wi-Fi connection along the entire stretch of the 24-kilometer EDSA.

A short inauguration program was held at the central station of Metro Rail Transit (MRT) in Shaw Boulevard on June 12. It coincided with the commemoration of the country’s 119th Independence Day.

During the inauguration program, DICT Secretary Rodolfo Salalima revealed that in initial tests, they had determined that the free service could reach data connection speed exceeding 300Mbps. However, he admitted that they are anticipating a decrease in that speed beginning Tuesday (June 13) as more commuters pass through EDSA and ride the MRT following a long weekend. “I requested telecommunication companies to maintain at least a two-digit speed or higher.”


Collaborative project
The free Wi-Fi access along EDSA is a project of the government in collaboration with the major local Internet service providers Smart Communications and Globe Telecom. Both companies are also keeping free hotspots in various transport hubs like airports and bus terminals across the country.

Initially, there are two IDs to access the free Wi-Fi service—‘Free EDSA Wifi’ and ‘Juan Konek.’ The department disclosed that the two will eventually be merged into a single ID, ‘PipolKonek.’


Online security measure
DICT also assured that public and private information would be safe and secured despite the service being a free service. To help uphold this commitment, it said proxy sites and other illegal websites would be barred from being accessed using the free Wi-Fi service.

The first phase of the project covers EDSA (street level) and MRT stations (platform level) from Guadalupe to Cubao. The second stage, which is expected to be rolled out before the President’s State of the Nation Address in July, will cover the avenue and MRT stations from Cubao to North Avenue and from Guadalupe to Taft Avenue. The third stage, set to be completed by the end of August this year, will cover the stretch of EDSA beyond the reach of MRT, to offer free Wi-Fi service from Mall of Asia to Balintawak.