Internet connectivity is coming to remote communities and fisherfolk in the Danajon Reef Marine Key Bioiversity Area of the Philippines’ Bohol province for the first time, courtesy of TV White Space wireless broadband technology developed by the Philippines’ Information and Communications Technology Office (ICTO).
Also known as “Super Wi-Fi,” the new wireless broadband network service will initially be enlisted in support of the Philippine government’s sustainable fisheries and poverty alleviation efforts. Bohol fisherfolk will use the service to electronically and remotely register for permits and send data to the Philippines’ Department of Agriculture as part of government’s efforts to “produce more fish, to feed more people, and generate more jobs,” according to an InterAksyon report.
Mobile broadband and sustainable fisheries
Local government units will also be able to access the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) Fisherfolk Registration System (FRS) from the field as opposed to completing written forms and then shuttling these to the municipal hall for data entry. That will enable municipalities to immediately distribute IDs, certificates and licenses to fisherfolk in nearby and remote areas, InterAksyon’s J.M. Tuazon highlighted.
In addition, Philippine National Police field officers will be able to make use of the network to access a central database to monitor fisherfolk’s compliance with gear and vessel regulations.
The joint public-private initiative will “give a much-needed focus to the plight of small-scale, subsistence fisherfolk as primary beneficiaries of the government’s poverty alleviation programs,” BFAR-7 director Andres Bojos was quoted as saying.
“This partnership will help the Philippine Government to identify and implement targeted programs for fisherfolk communities based on the information that they will provide,” ICTO executive director Louis Napoleon Casambre added. “We are glad that USAID and Microsoft Philippines are working with us to use this technology to further enhance the delivery of public services.”
Microsoft Philippines is providing tablets running the Windows 8 operating system during the registration process. “The TV White Space technology is an example of how untapped resources such as unused television channels can be leveraged to empower people’s lives like our fisherfolk with a better and convenient registration system,” InterAksyon quoted Microsoft Philippines managing director Karrie Ilagan.
Government authorities intend to deploy the Super Wi-Fi province-wide if the initial pilot test is successful. ICTO earlier this year announced that the TV White Space initiative would be an integral part of the agency’s efforts to provide Internet access to 70% of the Philippine population that lacks it.
Broadband connectivity is seen as a catalyst for more informed, sustainable socioeconomic development, InterAksyon pointed out. “With increased penetration in rural areas, the Super Wi-Fi technology can jumpstart economic development by giving access to e-Commerce, e-Learning, and e-Government tools to rural folk, subsequently increasing their incomes and pushing the economic status upwards in the countryside,” Tuzaon wrote.