Policy forum explored enhancing connectivity in the Philippines

9 Jun 2014

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The Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy, together with the Asian Institute of Management (AIM) Policy Center, conducted a public forum on 9 June 2014 in Manila to discuss how TV White Space (TVWS) technologies can be harnessed to improve broadband internet connectivity and close the digital divide in the Philippines. The forum, dubbed as “Enhancing Connectivity and Economic Development in the Philippines: Opportunities from TV White Spaces” discussed the potential benefits from TVWS technologies as well as policy changes needed to enable its widespread deployment. Microsoft, which currently supports LKY School’s research project on secondary cities’ competitiveness in ASEAN, is the main sponsor for this event.

TV white spaces are unused television channels which can be accessed by new devices for a variety of communication applications. The Philippines has been reported to have one of the lowest levels of broadband connectivity in Southeast Asia. Internet connections in the country, especially from outside the capital of Metro Manila are characterized by slow speed and high subscription costs. TVWS technologies offers the promise of reducing the digital divide and improving communication in remote areas.

In a trial led by the Philippine government in collaboration with Microsoft and the US Agency for International Development, TVWS technologies were used for fisherfolk registration and biodiversity preservation. Fast and accessible information from these technologies have contributed to the relief and rehabilitation efforts following the devastation brought about by the Bohol Earthquake and Typhoon Haiyan in the Visayas Region in 2013. However, wider implementation is challenged by outdated Philippine spectrum and ICT-related regulations.


Representatives from the Philippine government, media, industry, academe and civil society groups participated in this day-long event. The key speeches and presentations were provided by Commissioner Gamaliel Cordoba of the Philippines’ National Telecommunications Commission, Executive Director Louis Casambre of the Information and Communications Technology Office and Mr. Jeffrey Yan, Microsoft’s Director of Technology Policy (Asia Pacific). A diverse panel of discussants from these sectors also provided their inputs and shared their experiences based on the pilot projects of TV White Spaces in the Philippines.

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Monday, 09 June 2014