Community Cellular Networks in Rural Aurora
University of the Philippines - Diliman
The ISIF Asia 2018 Award winners each received USD 3,500 plus a travel grant to the 2018 Internet Governance Forum (IGF) that was held in Paris, France from 12 to 14 November 2018. Their work was featured as part of the Seed Alliance Awards ceremony, which was held on 13 November 2018.
Starting in 2016, in partnership with Globe Telecom, this project team has been deploying novel community cellular networks into rural areas of the Philippines. While the first sites (Tanay and San Andres) were deployed using traditional business models with Globe leading the site installations (and UP providing technical support) in December 2016, as of 2017 they have also begun deploying them in partnership with local NGOs, primarily cooperatives, and provide basic cellular service (e.g., voice and sms) to subscribers.
There are, as of this submission, three of seven of these eventual UP sites operating (with ten Globe sites also operational). Users are afforded SIMs and Interconnect, allowing them to connect with people both within and outside of the community. In parallel, they are also evaluating the impact of cellular connectivity in their partner communities, specifically across gender and social networks, through the use of a longitudinal randomized control trial (RCT).