/ 30 October 2020

THE ATENEO de Davao University, in partnership with other academic institutions, government agencies and private institutions has launched a program that will provide Internet connectivity to students and other members of the community.

“The AdDU’s Community Connectivity program aims to establish a network of schools, hospitals, businesses, and communities that are linked to the Internet through satellites to provide connectivity to remote and isolated communities throughout the BARMM and Mindanao,” the university said.

The University Community Engagement and Advocacy Center together with the Madaris Volunteer Program and the University Research Council of AdDU will manage the program that will be implemented in three phases.

The first phase, which is underway, involves the installation of eight satellite antenna receiving stations in selected sites. These stations were selected based on geographical factors, demand, accessibility, and security.

Through these stations, students can connect online for distance education, health workers can conduct telemedicine activities, and local residents can receive skills training or access government services.

The university will conduct an information and education campaign to raise awareness in the target communities and increase the number of users.

The second phase involves increasing the number of sites throughout Mindanao, which will be conducted upon completion of the Phase 1 Pilot Project and successful demonstration of the technology.

“The goal is to create at least one ACCESS Mindanao Site in each province that primarily focuses on education, health, government services, and commerce. This is conducted in parallel to the Free-Wifi Project of the DICT to increase the number of users and is done with an extensive IEC in the various communities where the centers are located,” the university said.

With a substantial number of communities connected through a commercial satellite service provider, the last phase of the program aims to push the country to launch its own national telecommunications satellite to expand the coverage to the whole country.

“As part of the program, AdDU and its partners will provide policy recommendations on how internet access for all can be improved for the benefit of the people of Mindanao, and the rest of the Philippines,” the university said.

“These policy recommendations and proposed legislation shall be based on consultations with various sectors and key stakeholders, identifying common needs and demands in terms of connectivity,” it added.