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Digital Inclusion

The Philippines rolls out TV White Spaces to improve fisherfolk registration

The Department of Science and Technology’s ICT Office (DOST-ICTO) is working together with the Department of Agriculture’s Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources(DA-BFAR), the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and Microsoft Philippines to roll out “Super WiFi” connectivity in order to improve fisherfolk registration in remote rural areas.


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The initiative will be made possible through the use of TV White Spaces, which turns unused TV broadcast frequency bands into complementary and cost-effective wireless broadband delivery channels.

According to a recent interview with Louis Casambre, Executive Director of the DOST-ICTO, TV White Spaces covers 16 times more than conventional Wi-Fi. Because of this, it has been popularly dubbed as “Super WiFi”.

The project will be rolled out in the municipalities of Talibon, Trinidad, Bien Unido, Ubay and Carlos P Garcia in Bohol provice, located in the central visayas region.

It will allow local government units to seamlessly access BFAR’s Fisherfolk Registration System (FRS) directly from the field, eliminating the tedious process of completing the paper-based forms and encoding the entries back in the municipal hall.

By doing so, the local government can identify and implement targeted programs for fisherfolk communities based on the information they provided in the system. Additionally, field operatives from the Philippine National Police, Bantay Dagat (Sea Patrol), and BFAR can immediately access and connect to a central database to monitor compliance in gear and vessels.

USAID Mission Director Gloria Steele said in an official statement, “The U.S. government is pleased to continue our collaboration with the Philippine government and the private sector as part of our shared vision of broad-based and inclusive growth for the Philippines. This ground breaking initiative demonstrates how win-win solutions for the environment and the business sector can be both profitable and sustainable.”

Meanwhile, Microsoft Philippines will be providing Windows 8-powered tablets for a mobile Fisherfolk Registration System.

The technology trial of TV White Space-supported fisherfolk registration is targeted for full implementation in September of this year. Results will be gathered and considered for potential expansion in 2014.

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