MANILA, Philippines - It has been more than two months since Typhoon Yolanda devastated Eastern Visayas and various efforts continue to take place to help rebuild the affected communities.
In line with its commitment to create a lasting impact in the community through technology, Microsoft Philippines has deployed TV White Space technology in the Visayas to enable Internet connectivity and free Skype calls to help the Yolanda survivors communicate with their families here and abroad.
Microsoft, together with the Department of Science and Technology’s 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 in Palo, Leyte.
The Internet is being powered by TV White Space, which utilizes unused TV channels (e.g., channels 3, 1, etc.) to enable connectivity.
This technology was first utilized by a joint project of Microsoft, DOST-ICTO, and USAID to improve fisherfolk registration in Bohol. Then, it was used to provide connectivity to support relief efforts for the victims of the 7.1 magnitude earthquake that hit Bohol last October.
Now, TV White Space is playing a role to provide Internet connectivity and much-needed communication for the Yolanda victims.
Moreover, the TV White Space technology is being utilized by government agencies such as the Department of the Interior and Local Government and Department of Social Welfare and Development, among other agencies, to effectively coordinate continued relief efforts, and for the delivery of services needed for the rebuilding of communities.
Microsoft has also provided free Skype call credit to government and non-government agencies for better collaboration in facilitating necessary initiatives.
“At Microsoft, we are committed to create a real impact in the country through technology. In the wake of the disaster, we extend our knowledge, capabilities and resources to help Filipinos at a time they need it the most,” said Karrie Ilagan, general manager of Microsoft Philippines.
“Through our disaster response programs, we hope to aid the government and non-profit organizations in efficiently conducting continued relief initiatives and rebuilding efforts for our affected citizens,” Ilagan added.
“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 DOST-ICTO.
In partnership with the National Competitiveness Council, Microsoft participated in the Disaster Preparedness Roadshow attended by stakeholders from the public and private sectors.
Microsoft conducted the disaster management session of the roadshow 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 ran in Davao, Cagayan de Oro City, Cebu, Iloilo, Pampanga, and Subic.