TV White Space pilot project in Bohol wins US award

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In a major affirmation of its significance as an emerging technology, the pilot implementation of TV White Space in the province of Bohol has won a US award as a model of public and private partnership.

Shown during the MOA signing are (L-R) DA-BFAR regional director Andres Bojos, ICT Office chief Louis Casambre, Microsoft PH head Karrie Ilagan, Ecosystem Improved For Sustainable Fisheries (Ecofish) Project chief-of-party Geronimo Silvestre, and USAID's regional legal adviser Randy Ali
Shown during the MOA signing are (L-R) DA-BFAR regional director Andres Bojos, ICT Office chief Louis Casambre, Microsoft PH head Karrie Ilagan, Ecosystem Improved For Sustainable Fisheries (Ecofish) Project chief-of-party Geronimo Silvestre, and USAID’s regional legal adviser Randy Ali

The TV White Space project in Danajon Reef in Bohol was cited as a model public-private partnership (P3) and winner of the second annual P3 Impact Award during the 2015 Concordia Summit in New York City.

US Secretary of State John F. Kerry revealed the TV White Space partnership as the winner, appearing remotely via video satellite.

The award is given out by the US Department of State Secretary?s Office of Global Partnerships, the University of Virginia Darden School of Business Institute for Business in Society, and Concordia.

The TV White Space initiative is a public-private partnership between tech giant Microsoft, the US Agency for International Development (USAID), the Department of Science and Technology?s Information and Communications Technology Office (DOST-ICT Office) and the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources.

It piloted, for the first time in the Philippines, a new technology that taps unused television broadcast frequencies (?TV White Space?) to extend high-speed, wireless Internet access to remote parts of the country.

Under the partnership, USAID tested the use of TV White Space to enable a mobile, online system to formally register fisherfolk in Bohol.

Bohol province was previously one of the most biodiverse and productive marine areas in the Philippines, but extreme overfishing over the past five decades has decreased the fish population by 90 percent.

Registering the fisherfolk provides the information necessary to create a plan for sustainable fishery use, not only critical to the survival of the marine life, but also to the human populations depending on them.

Registration is a key step toward sustainable fisheries management, and allows fisherfolk to access vital government services, including health care, insurance and poverty alleviation funds.

Since TV White Space connectivity was established in April 2014, over 16,000 fisherfolk have been registered in the pilot municipalities, with almost 4,000 of those registrants exclusively registered through TV White Space technology.

As a result, government counterparts have begun to use this new registration data to design and deploy better fisheries management interventions

The partnership has also provided free Internet access for 20,000 Philippines citizens who previously did not have any. Because entire communities now have access to high-speed Internet, public institutions such as medical clinics and schools are able to provide improved services.

Following these successes, the government has expanded the use of TV White Space to other locations in the Philippines to support its goal of providing wireless Internet access to 99 percent of its population.

The tech project was highlighted in a special edition of the Darden School?s thought-leadership publication ?Darden Ideas to Action,? which was provided at the Concordia Summit.

The TV White Space Partnership the Danajon Reef will also receive a full scholarship to attend a week-long Darden Executive Education course.

The additional award finalists included: Partners in Food Solutions-TechnoServe Alliance, The Nature Conservancy-Dow Chemical Company Collaboration, Madagascar: Improving Water and Sanitation Services to Low-Income Communities and U.S. Global Development Lab?s Partnering to Accelerate Entrepreneurship (PACE) Initiative and VilCap Investments: Catalyzing Investment to Democratize Global Entrepreneurship.

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