City launches free wifi for all at public market
As part of its Smart City and full digital transformation initiatives, the city government led by Mayor Benjamin Magalong launched the free public wifi last March 26 at the Baguio public market that intends to strengthen the digitalization of transactions, trade, and communications in and out of the area.
“This is a momentous occasion for our beloved city as it marks a significant step forward in our efforts to build a more connected and digitally empowered community,” Magalong said about the project that the city has been working on in partnership with Project Lightning of the National Transmission Corporation and in collaboration with Benguet Electric Cooperative.
City Mayor’s Office chief of staff Engr. Felipe Puzon, who also oversees the Management Information Technology Division, said Internet connectivity will be available from the Baguio Market Vendors Association office up to the rice section, Rillera building, and command post.
The project is the first wifi 6 roaming mobility in the country that is free for public use and has a service set identifier or SSID that covers 1.8 kilometers under one wifi access which is backward compatible to any kind of wifi-capable phone, Puzon said.
Magalong said benefits of the project will extend far beyond the convenience of free wifi access since this will strengthen online payments and connect customers with suppliers more easily, and that probably in time, “there will be no need to even come to the market to physically purchase items.”
He said after about four months since the launch of PalengQR, only 1,200 of the public market’s 3,900 entrepreneurs, are registered in the city’s digital payment system due to the lack of Internet connectivity, thus, the need for free wifi access.
“The pandemic has changed the way we live, work, and communicate, and it has underscored the importance of connectivity and access to information. With the launch of this free public wifi service, we are taking a bold step towards bridging the digital divide and ensuring all members of our community have access to the tools they need to thrive in the 21st century,” Magalong said.
The mayor said the initiative would not have been possible without the partnership of Project Lightning, “a team of dedicated professionals who share our commitment to making Baguio City a smarter and more connected place. Project Lightning will showcase what other local government units just dream about – wifi everywhere.”
“As we launch this free public wifi, let us remember that connectivity is not just a privilege, it is a fundamental human right. We must continue to work together to ensure that all members of our community have access to the resources they need to thrive in the digital age. Let us continue to work together to build a brighter and more connected future for Baguio City,” he added. – Gaby B. Keith