February 29, 2024

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Driving Digital Inclusivity in the Philippines

The Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) joined forces with a telecommunication company to launch the Universal Internet Subscription for GIDA (UISG) Project. This strategic collaboration aims to bring digital access to over 2,000 geographically isolated and disadvantaged areas (GIDA) across the Philippines, marking a significant step towards achieving digital inclusivity.

Image credit: dict.gov.ph

At the core of this endeavour is the Free Public Internet Access Programme, operating under the Broadband ng Masa Initiative. The programme’s mission is to bridge the digital divide and connect Filipinos to the myriad opportunities offered by the digital economy.

Secretary Ivan John Uy of DICT expressed his commitment to turning this vision into reality, ensuring that the benefits of the digital revolution reach every corner of the nation.

The UISG Project involves the deployment of fixed Very Small Aperture Terminals (VSATs), fibre technology, and satellite-communications-on-the-move terminals to more than 2,000 socially and economically disadvantaged areas. This infrastructure will play a crucial role in assisting other government agencies and Local Government Units (LGUs) with their connectivity needs during calamities.

An unprecedented 145-gigabyte capacity has been allocated for this mixed-technology project. The challenging geographical terrain of the Philippines, with its archipelagic structure, necessitates a diverse approach.

Fibre-enabled access points will be established in areas with viable terrain, numbering around 1,400 sites. For hilly and mountainous regions, fixed VSATs will provide satellite-enabled connectivity to far-flung and isolated communities.

The deployment of satellite-on-the-move terminals, capable of connecting to moving vehicles, will augment disaster and emergency response efforts. Thirty-four of these portable antennas, equipped with carry-on cases and gensets, were recently handed over to DICT for distribution to their regional offices.

DICT Undersecretary Jeffrey Ian Dy emphasised the importance of engaging with capable and reliable service providers to overcome the challenges posed by the country’s diverse and challenging terrain.

The UISG Project, through collaborations with various connectivity providers, currently oversees 4,741 active sites in 1,871 locations across all 17 regions of the Philippines. This translates to a substantial 806TB of internet data being consumed by the public.

The implementation of the UISG Project is a collaborative effort and as of now, 97% of the sites have been activated and accepted, with completion expected by the end of the year. Geographical barriers, inherent in the diverse and often challenging terrain of the Philippines, have traditionally posed impediments to comprehensive internet connectivity initiatives. However, the UISG Project has defied these obstacles through a strategic union of advanced technologies.

By addressing the unique needs of each area through a tailored approach, such as deploying fibre-enabled access points in geographically viable locations and employing fixed VSATs in hilly and mountainous regions, the project ensures that no community is left behind in the digital age.

DICT Undersecretary Jeffrey stressed that the adaptive and inclusive strategy aligns with the broader vision of digital inclusivity, resonating with the principles of the Free Public Internet Access Programme under the Broadband ng Masa Initiative.

As the UISG Project nears its completion, the impact on these geographically isolated and disadvantaged areas is poised to be transformative. Beyond merely bridging the digital divide, it lays the foundation for enhanced educational opportunities, economic growth, and improved healthcare services.

This project serves as a beacon of hope for remote communities, affirming that, with collaboration and technological innovation, the promise of a connected and digitally empowered future is within reach for every corner of the nation.

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Qlik’s vision is a data-literate world, where everyone can use data and analytics to improve decision-making and solve their most challenging problems. A private company, Qlik offers real-time data integration and analytics solutions, powered by Qlik Cloud, to close the gaps between data, insights and action. By transforming data into Active Intelligence, businesses can drive better decisions, improve revenue and profitability, and optimize customer relationships. Qlik serves more than 38,000 active customers in over 100 countries.

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CTC Global Singapore, a premier end-to-end IT solutions provider, is a fully owned subsidiary of ITOCHU Techno-Solutions Corporation (CTC) and ITOCHU Corporation.

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SIRIM is a premier industrial research and technology organisation in Malaysia, wholly-owned by the Minister​ of Finance Incorporated. With over forty years of experience and expertise, SIRIM is mandated as the machinery for research and technology development, and the national champion of quality. SIRIM has always played a major role in the development of the country’s private sector. By tapping into our expertise and knowledge base, we focus on developing new technologies and improvements in the manufacturing, technology and services sectors. We nurture Small Medium Enterprises (SME) growth with solutions for technology penetration and upgrading, making it an ideal technology partner for SMEs.

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HashiCorp provides infrastructure automation software for multi-cloud environments, enabling enterprises to unlock a common cloud operating model to provision, secure, connect, and run any application on any infrastructure. HashiCorp tools allow organizations to deliver applications faster by helping enterprises transition from manual processes and ITIL practices to self-service automation and DevOps practices. 

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IBM is a leading global hybrid cloud and AI, and business services provider. We help clients in more than 175 countries capitalize on insights from their data, streamline business processes, reduce costs and gain the competitive edge in their industries. Nearly 3,000 government and corporate entities in critical infrastructure areas such as financial services, telecommunications and healthcare rely on IBM’s hybrid cloud platform and Red Hat OpenShift to affect their digital transformations quickly, efficiently and securely. IBM’s breakthrough innovations in AI, quantum computing, industry-specific cloud solutions and business services deliver open and flexible options to our clients. All of this is backed by IBM’s legendary commitment to trust, transparency, responsibility, inclusivity and service.

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