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, folks in rural areas and slums go online via pisonet machines—public vending machines that sell Internet access in five minute increments for one peso (approximately two US cents.) From Rest of the World:

Even with coronavirus lockdowns and curfews, pisonet businesses are somehow surviving; schoolchildren are devoted clients, feeding in a stream of pesos to complete classwork or to lose themselves in multiplayer games. The machines crop up in the run-down alleyways of central Manila, where, according to various groups, an estimated 60% of people in low-income neighborhoods don't own laptops or smartphones.

As the pandemic spread through the Philippines in early 2020, distancing meant that more people required an internet connection to pay bills, make transactions, study, and work. Its poorest residents weren't exempt, even if they didn't have the same access. When schooling morphed into what public officials called "blended learning," a mix of online lectures and printed-out modules, schoolchildren scrambled to pisonet machines, sometimes dropping in a peso and taking photos of their online syllabuses before rushing home to complete them[…]

Pisonet machines have roots in the Philippine style of consumerism known as tingi, which refers to the practice of buying bit by bit, at need, rather than in advance. In the city, a reliable internet service can cost around 1,300 pesos (roughly $25) monthly — far too expensive for many residents to pay upfront. Rather, in the same way these Filipinos buy shampoo and cigarettes piecemeal, they have grown into the habit of consuming their internet a single use at a time.

(via NextDraft)

image: "First Peso Net on March 2010 Build by: Junaid Ibrahim" by Naidz24 (CC BY-SA 4.0)