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TV White Space technology enables Internet connectivity, video calls in typhoon-hit areas

Microsoft Philippines has deployed TV White Space technology in Visayas to enable Internet connectivity and free Skype calls to help Typhoon Yolanda-affected citizens communicate with their families here in the country and abroad.

Microsoft, together with the Department of Science and Technology Information and Communications Technology Office (DOST – ICTO), has placed a station of devices at evacuation centers where citizens can access Skype and enable a video call with their relatives and loved ones. One of these evacuation centers is the Philippine Science High School – Eastern Visayas Campus located at Palo, Leyte.

The Internet is being powered by TV White Space which utilizes unused TV channels (e.g., channel 3, channel 1, etc.) to enable connectivity. This technology was first utilized by a joint project of Microsoft, DOST – ICTO, and USAID to improve fisherfolk registration at Bohol. Then, it was used to provide connectivity to support relief efforts for the victims of the 7.1 magnitude earthquake that hit Bohol in October 2013. Now, TV White Space is playing a role to provide Internet connectivity and much-needed communications for our kakabayansaffected by Typhoon Yolanda last year.

Moreover, TV White Space technology is being utilized by government agencies such as DILG and DSWD among others to effectively coordinate for the continued relief efforts, and for the delivery of services needed for the rebuilding of communities. Microsoft has also provided free Skype calls credit to government and non-government agencies for better collaboration in facilitating necessary initiatives.

“Through our disaster response programs, we hope to aid the government and non-profit organizations in efficiently conducting continued relief initiativesand rebuilding efforts for our affected citizens,” said Karrie Ilagan, General Manager of Microsoft Philippines.

“The TV White Space technology is an ideal medium to bridge the digital gap particularly in areas beyond the reach of commercial communications providers. And it is with this technology that we intend to provide connectivity for government offices for the delivery of essential services and disaster response initiatives,” said Undersecretary Louis Casambre of the DOST- ICTO.

In partnership with the National Competitiveness Council (NCC), Microsoft participatedin the Disaster Preparedness Roadshow attended by stakeholders from public and private sectors.  Microsoft conducted the Disaster Management session of theroadshow to share to stakeholders how to better leverage resources such as technology, and to present case studies on the value of investing in disaster preparedness.The roadshow ranin the following areas: Davao, Cagayan de Oro, Cebu, Iloilo, Pampanga and Subic.

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