The University of the Philippines and Globe Telecom, Inc. held a ceremonial signing of the Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) for the commencement of the Village Base Station (VBTS) Project, on July 28 at Quezon Hall, UP Diliman. Under the Philippine-California Advanced Research Institute (PCARI) Project and in collaboration with the Commission on Higher Education (CHED), the VBTS is “a telecommunications research activity that aims to develop novel and innovative, low-cost GSM base stations that will address the lack of fundamental mobile communications service in rural areas.”
The MOA signing was attended by: (L-R) Josephine Dionisio, CHED-PCARI VBTS Project staff; Rofil Sheldon F. Magto, manager, Citizenship- Globe Telecom, Inc.; Charlotte Mallari, project manager, Globe Telecom, Inc.; Danilo L. Concepcion, UP president; Cedric Angelo Festin, project leader, CHED-PCARI VBTS Project; William Padolina, PCARI Project manager; and Philip Martinez, research fellow, CHED-PCARI VBTS Project.
The VBTS is a UP research project funded under the CHED-PCARI Program. This project aims to deploy “small-scale community cellular networks” in seven remote communities in San Luis and Dingalan, Aurora. In this project, the UP team will be: field-testing radio frequency enhancements and “community-specific applications and services”; evaluating the social and economic impacts of rural cellular connectivity; and, testing different business models for long-term sustainability. UP will: provide community cellular network equipment, antenna mast and other hardware and software; ensure compliance to government requirements; install, operate and maintain sites; and, provide full documentation and recommendations at the end of the research period. Globe Telecom, Inc., through its Corporate Social Responsibility program, on the other hand, will provide financial and infrastructure support, such as: Konekt SIMs, network-in-a-box equipment, radio frequencies, and other forms of assistance for the completion of the one-year pilot study. (Fred Dabu, UP MPRO)