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Free Wi-Fi in 21 transport hubs OKd

/ 12:10 AM July 13, 2016

The transportation department promised to deliver “free” Wi-Fi internet connection to 21 public transportation hubs—including airport gateways, train stations and seaports—within 100 days, Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade said.

The department Tuesday signed a memorandum of understanding with PLDT Inc.’s Smart Communications for the provision of free Wi-Fi internet with a speed of up to 1 gigabits. This would come at “no cost” to the government, Tugade said in a briefing.

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He said the initial rollout would be at all four passenger terminals of the Ninoy Aquino International Airport as well as airports in Davao, Iloilo, Bacolod, Dumaguete, Kalibo, Laguindingan, General Santos, Clark, Laoag, Cebu, Caticlan and Zamboanga.

Also to be included are the Light Rail Transit Line 1, LRT-2, and Metro Rail Transit Line 3 in Metro Manila. For seaports, free wifi will be initially made available in Batangas and Mindoro.

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Tugade said the agreement was not exclusive, and other companies were free to provide their services.

PLDT chair and CEO Manuel V. Pangilinan said the company was spending about P1 billion this year to boost Wi-Fi services.

Aside from this, Smart said it was ramping up the capacity of its mobile phone sites in 73 provinces using newly acquired frequencies from San Miguel Corp. This was despite questions raised by the Philippine Competition Commission, which says the acquisition still required its approval.

Smart said it had beefed up the capacity of 2,035 cell sites in 581 cities and municipalities in different parts of the country using the 1800 MHz frequency.

“Smart is initially using the 1800 MHz to enhance the ability of its GSM or 2G network to handle more calls and text messages, particularly in dense urban areas in Metro Manila, North Luzon, South Luzon, in the Visayas, and Mindanao,” Smart said in its statement.

Smart has fired up added facilities using the 1800 MHz frequency in 264 cell sites in Metro Manila, 743 in North Luzon, 629 in South Luzon, 118 in the Visayas, and 281 in Mindanao.

The 2G network expansion  complements Smart’s growing use of the 700, 2300, and 2600 MHz frequencies also previously assigned to SMC, to strengthen Smart’s mobile data service throughout the country,  particularly via LTE, Smart said in its statement.

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