Internet vending machines sell web access in five-minute increments

In the Philippines, personal Internet access is far too expensive for many people. As a result, rural and slum dwellers connect through pisonet vending machines, public vending machines that sell Internet access in five-minute increments for one peso (about two hundred US). Rest of the world:

Even with coronavirus lockdowns and curfews, pisonet businesses somehow survive; school children are devoted customers, feeding off a flood of pesos to complete class work or lose themselves in multiplayer games. The machines are popping up in the dilapidated alleys of central Manila, where, according to various groups, about 60% of residents of low-income neighborhoods do not own laptops or smartphones.

As the pandemic spread in the Philippines in early 2020, remoteness meant more people needed an internet connection to pay bills, transact, study and work. Its poorest inhabitants were not exempt, even if they did not have the same access. When the school transformed into what officials called “blended learning,” a mix of online lectures and printed modules, schoolchildren rushed to pisonet machines, sometimes depositing a peso and taking photos of their online programs before rushing home to complete them.[…]

Pisonet machines have their roots in the Filipino drinking style known as tingi, which refers to the practice of buying bit by bit, as needed, rather than in advance. In the city, reliable internet service can cost around 1,300 pesos (about $25) a month, which is far too expensive for many residents to pay upfront. On the contrary, in the same way that these Filipinos buy shampoo and cigarettes piecemeal, they have become accustomed to consuming their Internet only once at a time.

(Going through Next draft)

picture: “First Peso Net on March 2010 Build by: Junaid Ibrahim” by Naidz24 (CC BY-SA 4.0)

About Margaret Shaw

Check Also

Ben Affleck, 49, cuts a youthful figure as he steps out showing off his buff arms while smoking

The JLo effect! Ben Affleck, 49, cuts a youthful figure as he steps out showing …