Facebook: Internet.org a home run in the Philippines
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg's keynote speech at this year's Mobile World Congress centred on his vision of a connected world via the Internet.org project. Launched in 2013, Internet.org is a global collaboration among technology leaders, non-profit organisations and local communities who are working together to bring the Internet to the vast majority of the world's population. The Philippines became a test bed for the coalition through a partnership with local mobile operator Globe Telecom to provide free Facebook access to its subscribers.
"Internet.org is a partnership, it's an industry coalition working together to make the Internet and the different parts of it more efficient. For everyone to have access to it for a really affordable price or free is the real goal for basic internet services. In the Philippines, for example, we've been working with Globe, and what we've seen in the Philippines is the number of people who are using Internet and data has doubled," shared Zuckerberg.
The social networking giant is not alone in its vision of a connected online world. Early this year, Microsoft deployed "Super Wi-Fi" to assist survivors of the super typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan) with free Skype calls and Internet access so they can contact family members. Super Wi-Fi taps unused TV channels to enable connectivity. Microsoft worked with the Department of Science and Technology Information and Communications Technology Office (DOST-ICTO) to install communication devices at evacuation centres in hard hit areas across Leyte province.
TV White Space technology has helped local governments and non-profit organisations in disaster relief efforts in the Philippines because of its long distance propagation features, which is essential for communication in rural areas where Internet connection is sparse. The DOST-ICTO is pushing for TV White Space to be used for improving health care access in all provinces in the country.