School buses were converted into mobile WiFi hubs in Manila for selected communities as a way to help stem home internet problems students are encountering as they go about their distance learning programs.
The campaign “KonekTayo School Bus WiFi in Manila” was launched as a partnership of the Manila City government and Globe Telecom-Ayala Group of Companies with the goal of making internet accessible to underprivileged communities.
Classes for colleges and universities resumed last August. Primary and secondary schools, meanwhile, reopened their classes early this October.
Slow internet connectivity, particularly in poor areas, has been among the main concerns of students and parents who previously called for the Department of Education and the Commission on Higher Education to suspend the academic year.
With the KonekTayo WiFi service, the converted school buses equipped with special antennas will broadcast WiFi signal from 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. from Monday to Sunday in covered areas.
This initiative will also help support bus operators whose livelihood had previously been affected by the tough lockdowns in the past months.
Manila Mayor Isko Moreno Domagoso, Ayala Corp. CEO Jaime Augusto Zobel de Ayala and Globe Telecom CEO Ernest Cu joined the official launch of the project on Monday, October 19.
“Against the backdrop of COVID-19, internet access has become a lifeline more than a luxury. Internet access is needed by students to pursue online education, by workers to continue earning a living while working from home, by families to stay connected with each other,” Ayala said.
“With Globe’s School Bus WiFi in the City of Manila, we are able to help in ensuring that residents have access to affordable WiFi connectivity. We look to partner with other local governments to expand this initiative,” he added.
Cu, meanwhile, noted the struggles of the private transport industry.
“We recognize the difficulties faced by the private school transport industry, especially now that classes have started. We sought to develop an innovation that will not only provide this industry with a new opportunity, but will also bring connectivity to students and communities in areas that need it most,” he said.
Konek Tayo’s Wi-Fi spots
The areas that the route of the school buses will cover include:
- Pasaje del Carmen Street
- Remigio Street
- 853 Gonzalo Gil Puyat Street
- 924 Bilibid Viejo Street
- Tomas Mapua Street
- Alfonso Mendoza Street
- Dalupan Street
- Oroqueta Street
- Basco Street
In a post on September 29 on Konek Tayo’s Facebook page, it was stated that the project which was also known as “KapitWiFi” had already helped communities in other parts of the country.
Ang KonekTayo WiFi na mas kinilalang KapitWiFi ay naniniwala na ang bawat Pilipino ay may karapatan magkaroon ng access…
This service will be free for the first hour of the day but only for public school students and teachers who were recipients of 289,000 Globe SIM cards.
The rest can avail of it for as low as P15 per day.