GenSan’s main public park goes online with free WiFi

GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews / 11 Jan) – This city’s main public park, the Plaza Heneral Santos, is now a free “high-speed” WiFi Internet zone.

This, as the city government formally unveiled on Tuesday its free Internet WiFi or wireless fidelity project for the entire park in partnership with telecommunication and digital services provider PLDT Inc. and its mobile subsidiary Smart Communications.

PLDT-Smart earlier tapped the city as pilot area for its free public WiFi initiative in coordination with local government units (LGUs).

“This is the first government park in the country to have free public WiFi from PLDT-Smart,” said Melvin Lacuna, PLDT General Santos-Cotabato zone head, during the ceremonial launching.

He said the project is an offshoot of an agreement between the city government and PLDT-Smart.

City Mayor Ronnel Rivera personally requested for the public WiFi service after the successful launching of free Smart WiFi connection at the city airport in September last year, he said.

Under the project, Lacuna said they committed to provide WiFi connection with data transfer speed of up to 1 gigabit per second (gbps) within the city plaza grounds.

Around 500 users could be accommodated by the free connection through WiFi networks #LGU-GenSan_PLDT-SMART_FreeWifi.

“This is quite fast since the requirement for Internet streaming is only 2-4 mbps (megabits per second),” he said.

Lacuna said that based on a speed test they made during the launching, the WiFi connection is already at 50 to 60 mbps.

“For the other equipment that’s already at around 300 mbps,” he said.

Rivera said they pushed for the provision of free public WiFi connection at the city plaza as part of the city government’s efforts to provide better services to residents.

The mayor said it is specifically a component of the local government’s development strategy of “creating a livable environment for all Generals towards nation-building.” Residents here are called “Generals” in reference to the city’s name.

“This is one of the services that we really wanted to give to our people here,” Rivera told reporters.

Rivera said that putting up internet connection in strategic locations in the city, like the public park, would ensure that residents would enjoy digital connectivity, which could help boost tourism, economy and technological capability.

He noted that since Plaza Heneral Santos is in the vicinity of schools and colleges, students who are on a budget can do their research and online study for free.

“We are living in the digital age and internet connection is very important. It’s a big help especially for the students who frequent the area. For our tourists, they can help promote the city better and show the world how beautiful this city is by uploading pictures. Even for those looking for jobs, you can easily search the internet for free,” he said.

Rivera said families here of Overseas Filipino Workers may also use the connection for video chats with their love ones for free.

Dave Arreglado, executive assistant of the City Mayor’s Office, said the project is just the start of the city government’s partnership with PLDT and Smart.

He said they will continually work together to further improve and strengthen the internet connection at the city plaza.

The official added that to protect users, especially the minors, online security measures have been put in place by network engineers to prevent downloading and watching of pornographic websites and materials. (MindaNews)