FROM FOOTPATH TO SUPERHIGHWAY: PH INTERNET@20

THE people who connected the Philippines to the Internet 20 years ago had no idea how big it was going to be. “The only thing I wanted was to have people like me, scientists, getting access to the world of scientific information,” said Dr. Rodolfo Villarica, founding president of the Philippine Network Foundation, the group that established the country’s first live connection to global Internet. “Now it’s mind-boggling what the Internet has done. It has allowed overseas Filipino workers to stay in touch with their loved ones back home. It has also paved the way for industries to grow. One can establish a small company and sell worldwide. Call centers, the business process outsourcing industry would not have evolved if not for the Internet. It has grown from being an information footpath to a superhighway,” he said. Indeed, it would have been difficult in 1994 to imagine what the Internet could do when the bandwidth was at 64kbps and the cost to maintain the connection was $10,000 a month. “Now, nobody even looks at 64 kbps. And Internet access is so cheap, it’s one of the few goods that defy inflation,” Villarica noted. READ MORE...

ALSO: Gov’t blamed for PH’s slow Internet speed

The country’s slow Internet connection speed, the slowest in the Southeast Asian region, is due to the lack of a central organization that heads the development of the Information and Communication Technology (ICT) sector, the head of an international IT enterprise service provider said. “If you look at our neighboring countries, a lot of them have increased focus on ICT as a key ingredient of the government and the economy,” Ronnie Latinazo, Country Manager of EMC Corporation said during a roundtable discussion with reporters Tuesday.
“In the Philippines it’s not even a department level body. It doesn’t matter whether it’s a department or a commission, the point is we want someone looking at it from a holistic standpoint,” he said. ---He said that the development of the Philippine’s Internet infrastructure is not moving as fast as it should because of the scattered programs under multiple government agencies. “Today portion of the program are scattered, so I think it’s very difficult to come up with a holistic end-to-end program to facilitate the overall development,” Latinazo said. “It should be addressed and I think it’s being addressed except it’s not being addressed as fast as everyone wants to. We in the IT industry have been trying to advocate the roll out of faster projects in terms of infrastructure,” he said. Latinazo also pointed out the lack of progress with a bill in Congress creating the Department of ICT (DICT), which has been filed and refiled several times in the past since the 13th Congress.READ IN FULL.....


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From footpath to superhighway: PH Internet@20


Confetti rains as Dr. Rudy Villarica and Dr. Bill Torres, prepare to blow candles.

MANILA, may 5, 2014 (MANILA STANDARD) By Manila Standard Today - THE people who connected the Philippines to the Internet 20 years ago had no idea how big it was going to be.

“The only thing I wanted was to have people like me, scientists, getting access to the world of scientific information,” said Dr. Rodolfo Villarica, founding president of the Philippine Network Foundation, the group that established the country’s first live connection to global Internet.

“Now it’s mind-boggling what the Internet has done. It has allowed overseas Filipino workers to stay in touch with their loved ones back home. It has also paved the way for industries to grow. One can establish a small company and sell worldwide. Call centers, the business process outsourcing industry would not have evolved if not for the Internet. It has grown from being an information footpath to a superhighway,” he said.

Indeed, it would have been difficult in 1994 to imagine what the Internet could do when the bandwidth was at 64kbps and the cost to maintain the connection was $10,000 a month.

“Now, nobody even looks at 64 kbps. And Internet access is so cheap, it’s one of the few goods that defy inflation,” Villarica noted.

Much bigger impact in the next 20 years

Because of the increasing affordability and accessibility of the Internet, experts say it will have a much bigger impact on people’s lives in the years to come.

John Dang, founder of Zipmatch—an online community of real estate sellers, developers, buyers, and brokers—said there would come a day when people would be able to buy a house online.

“We have started to automate the home-buying process. Some people might think this is farfetched, but we have to remember that years ago, people didn’t even think they could buy shoes online,” Dang said during “20.PH.NET and Beyond,” a series of talks hosted by the Smart Developer Network (Smart DevNet) as part of the #20PHNET events organized by various tech communities to celebrate the 20th anniversary of Philippine Internet.

Amazon Web Services technology evangelist Markku Lepisto said in the same event that the Internet would enable big data analytics to move from providing historical and real-time information, to providing predictive data.

This communication is intended solely for the use of the addressee and authorized recipients. It may contain confidential or legally privileged information and is subject to the conditions in http://www1.smart.com.ph/corporate/corporate/disclaimer.

Other speakers at the Smart DevNet event held at Jump Experience Center in SM Megamall were government security contractor Milo Pacamarra who discussed the future of Internet security, Uber’s Asian launcher Douglas Ma who talked about the impact of technology on transportation, and Microsoft Philippines open source software specialist Edison Tan who gave a talk on the future of computing.

Internet as a human right

Seeing the positive impact of the Internet on the lives of millions of people, former National Computer Center managing director Dr. William Torres said Filipinos should now push for even wider Internet access.

“We want more Filipinos to do things with the Internet that could generate wealth for themselves and their communities. The Internet should really be a human right. Wider access is not impossible to achieve. We can reach out to all nooks and crannies of the archipelago because we have the capability to engineer a system that could do this,” Torres said during a recent tribute dinner organized by Smart Communications, Inc. (Smart) for the pioneers and current movers of Philippine Internet.

Smart’s tribute dinner last March 29 at Peninsula Manila hotel was held with the support of the Department of Science and Technology, the Philippine chapter of the global Internet Society, and PH.Net, the country’s original educational Internet network.

Internet in the hands of every Filipino

Smart chief wireless advisor Orlando B. Vea said the company has been pushing an “Internet for All” advocacy for several years now.

“We want to put the Internet in the hands of every Filipino, just like we did for mobile,” Vea said, adding that Smart recently launched the PowerApp mobile application which lets users avail of Photo, Social, Chat, Email, and Unli mobile data packages for as low as P5.

“From something novel and accessible only to a few, Philippine Internet is now woven into the fabric of every Filipino’s life. On behalf of Smart, I just want to congratulate all the movers and the shakers behind its 20 years of growth,” Vea said.

Villarica said a lot of people had worked hard to establish that crucial first connection which sparked mind-boggling growth. “I was asked who were the people behind this and I counted about 88 people. They say the father of failure is only one but the father of success is many,” he said.

FROM THE INQUIRER

Gov’t blamed for PH’s slow Internet speed By Matikas Santos INQUIRER.net 4:55 pm | Thursday, May 1st, 2014

MANILA, Philippines—The country’s slow Internet connection speed, the slowest in the Southeast Asian region, is due to the lack of a central organization that heads the development of the Information and Communication Technology (ICT) sector, the head of an international IT enterprise service provider said.

“If you look at our neighboring countries, a lot of them have increased focus on ICT as a key ingredient of the government and the economy,” Ronnie Latinazo, Country Manager of EMC Corporation said during a roundtable discussion with reporters Tuesday.

“In the Philippines it’s not even a department level body. It doesn’t matter whether it’s a department or a commission, the point is we want someone looking at it from a holistic standpoint,” he said.

The recent 2014 Net Index rankings by Internet broadband testing company Ookla found that Philippines has the slowest Internet speed compared to the rest of Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean).

The Philippines has an average speed of 3.5 Mbps compared to Singapore (65 Mbps), Thailand (17.9 Mbps), Vietnam (13 Mbps), Cambodia (5.4 Mbps), Malaysia (5.4 Mbps), Brunei (5.3 Mbps), Myanmar (5.2 Mbps), Laos (4.3 Mbps), and Indonesia (4.1 Mbps).

“I think studies show that a country’s ability to adopt technology facilitates the development of the country economically,” Latinazo said.

He said that the development of the Philippine’s Internet infrastructure is not moving as fast as it should because of the scattered programs under multiple government agencies.

“Today portion of the program are scattered, so I think it’s very difficult to come up with a holistic end-to-end program to facilitate the overall development,” Latinazo said.

“It should be addressed and I think it’s being addressed except it’s not being addressed as fast as everyone wants to. We in the IT industry have been trying to advocate the roll out of faster projects in terms of infrastructure,” he said.

Latinazo also pointed out the lack of progress with a bill in Congress creating the Department of ICT (DICT), which has been filed and refiled several times in the past since the 13th Congress.

The bill consolidates the powers and functions of the Information and Communications Technology Office, National Computer Center, all offices under the Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) that have responsibilities in communications.

The National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) and the Philippines Postal Corporation (PPC) would also be attached to the DICT.

“We’ve been trying to support that initiative ever since but unfortunately it has not pushed through,” Latinazo said.

“It has come to a point where everyone has recognized that it’s not about having a ministry, regardless of level. It’s about having an organization that’s more unified and holistic, be it ministry, be it commission or person, but today there’s none,” he said.

Currently, the bill has been refiled in the 16th Congress as Senate Bill 2144 on February 26, 2014. It is presently pending in the Committee level.


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