Manila LGU To Offer Free Public WiFi Access During Papal Visit of Pope Francis


In line with the forthcoming Papal visit of Pope Francis to the Philippines, the local government unit (LGU) of the city of Manila headed by former Philippine President and now Mayor Joseph Estrada and Vice Mayor Francisco “Isko Moreno” Domagoso have officially announced that the city will provide free wireless internet (WiFi) access in select public location across the metropolitan city of Manila including España, Taft, Lawton, Kalaw, Roxas Boulevard, and Rizal Park. During his visit to the Philippines, Pope Francis is set to go to the University of Santo Thomas (UST) on January 18 to meet with religious leaders and representatives from different youth organizations.

In a press statement released earlier this week, Vice Mayor Moreno said that the initiative will serve as both a continuation to the LGU’s plan of making it easy for their residence to access internet wirelessly at no cost, as well as a test-run on how well the network infrastructure can hold up.

The LGU of Manila is expecting around 5 million people will flock to the Metro Manila on the 18th day of January 2014 to at least get a glimpse of the beloved Pope Francis during his Papal visit in Manila.

While it is still unknown whether which company will provide the free Wi-Fi access, Vice Mayor Moreno claims that “several Manila-based technology firms have pledged to contribute for the free internet access” and those the antennas that will be used are donated by “an American company based in Silicon Valley.” The high-tech waiting sheds were constructed through a public sector partnership (PPP). The private company was allowed to enter into advertising contracts for the backlit-illuminated panels installed at those the sheds. The city government will receive 20% share in the advertising revenue.

On January 15, from 3-7 P.M. local time, Sales Avenue going towards Andrews Avenue while be closed, up to Domestic Road. It will be closed again on January 19, from 7-10 A.M. The Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) also released a NOTAM (Notice to Airmen) about the flights that will be affected by the Papal visit.

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