Ateneo de Davao University (AdDU), in partnership with other academic institutions, government agencies, and private institutions, launches AdDU Community Connectivity Empowered by Satellite Service for Mindanao (ACCESS Mindanao) to provide alternative solutions using satellite technology to address the problem of online connectivity, democratize access to the Internet, and improve the quality of life for people in Mindanao.

The program aims to establish a network of schools, hospitals, businesses, and communities that are linked to the Internet through satellites to provide connectivity to remote and isolated communities throughout the BARMM and Mindanao.

The University Community Engagement and Advocacy Center (UCEAC) together with the Madaris Volunteer Program and the University Research Council of AdDU manages the program that will be implemented in three phases:

Phase 1: ACCESS Mindanao Satellite Network Pilot Project
Phase 2: Expanding the Community Satellite Connectivity in Mindanao Communities
Phase 3: Towards a National Telecommunications Satellite

The first phase, which is currently ongoing, involves the installation of eight (8) satellite antenna receiving stations in selected sites. These stations were selected based on geographical factors, demand, accessibility, and security.

At the onset, a satellite receiving station will be installed and satellite access will be provided either with a limited or unlimited data cap. Installation and remote management of the system will be handled by AdDU for one year. For sites with limited data capacity, an additional cost per gigabit (GB) beyond the limit will be covered, either by the host institution, local government unit (LGU), Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT), Non-Government Organizations (NGO), or other potential sponsors/partners.

In these centers, students can connect online for distance education, health workers can conduct telemedicine activities, and local residents can receive skills training or access government services.

As a component of the project, an information and education campaign (IEC) will also be conducted to raise awareness in the target communities and increase the number of users to maximize the usage of the center. This project is supported by Mindanao Development Authority (MinDA), DICT, and the LGU where the sites are located.

The second phase involves increasing the number of sites throughout Mindanao, which will be conducted upon completion of the Phase 1 Pilot Project and successful demonstration of the technology. The goal is to create at least one (1) ACCESS Mindanao Site in each province that primarily focuses on education, health, government services, and commerce. This is conducted in parallel to the Free-Wifi Project of the DICT to increase the number of users and is done with an extensive IEC in the various communities where the centers are located. 

With a substantial number of communities connected through a commercial satellite service provider, the last phase of the program aims to push the Philippines to launch its own national telecommunications satellite to expand the coverage to the whole country. This is well in line with the country’s National Space Policy (RA 11363) of bringing the benefits of space technology to enhance the quality of life of all Filipinos. The national telecommunications satellite can be conducted as a public-private partnership between the industry and the Philippine government. 

As part of the program, AdDU and its partners will provide policy recommendations on how internet access for all can be improved for the benefit of the people of Mindanao, and the rest of the Philippines. These policy recommendations and proposed legislation shall be based on consultations with various sectors and key stakeholders, identifying common needs and demands in terms of connectivity. The policy recommendations can show the way forward on improving internet access and possibly serve as a basis for a future roadmap for a Philippine satellite.

For more information, please read the ACCESS Mindanao Concept Note:

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