Gatchalian Satellite-based technologies bill to intensify digital education

Gatchalian Satellite-based technologies bill to intensify digital education

By Ernie Reyes

MANILA — Maximizing the use of satellite technology to widen internet access
nationwide will be a boost to the rollout of digital technology in
public schools, Senator Win Gatchalian said.

Senate Bill No. 2250 or the “Satellite-Based Technologies for Internet
Connectivity Act of 2021” aims to expand access to satellite-based
technologies as an alternative connectivity solution to ensure
universal access to the internet.

“Habang hindi pa nakakabalik ang mga mag-aaral sa eskwelahan, mas
maiging ngayon pa lang ay nilalatag na natin ang mga paghahanda para
sa itinataguyod nating digital education sa bansa,” said Gatchalian.

Under the proposed measure, government organizations, public and
non-profit private institutions and volunteer organizations engaged
in education, health, finance, agriculture, environmental management,
climate change management, disaster preparedness and crisis response
will be allowed to own and operate satellite-based technology to aid
and augment their activities.

To provide internet services through satellite-based technologies,
especially in areas where it is expensive to roll out wired or mobile
wireless networks, a satellite is used to get internet signal from the
internet service provider (ISP) to the user. The ISP sends a wireless
internet signal to a satellite in space, while the satellite dish is
connected to the modem of the user, which then connects the user to
the internet.

The proposed measure complements the Public Education Network (PEN)
which the Department of Education (DepEd) and the Department of
Information and Communications Technology (DICT) aim to put up,
Gatchalian explained. This initiative aims to fast track the
installation of digital connectivity in public schools and DepEd
offices.

Under the PEN, the DICT will augment future satellite capacity of the
DepEd for students from Last Mile Schools to access digital education.
The use of public schools as common tower sites is also part of the
two agencies’ agreement.

According to the 2019 National ICT Household Survey, 82.3 percent of
households do not have access to the internet. A paper from The Asia
Foundation also pointed out that 74 percent of public schools remain
unconnected to the internet.

“Sa isinusulong nating pagpapalawig sa paggamit ng satellite-based
technologies, bawat paaralan at bawat tahanan ay maaari na nating
maabot,” said the Chairman of the Senate Committee on Basic Education,
Arts and Culture. (AI/MTVN)

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