TV White Space Supported Fisherfolk Registration in the Danajon Reef
A public-private partnership between Microsoft, USAID and the Philippines’ Department of Science and Technology and Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources is piloting, for the first time in the Philippines, a new technology that taps unused television broadcast frequencies (or “TV white space”) to extend high-speed, wireless Internet access to remote parts of the Philippines. Under this partnership, USAID is testing the use of TV white space to enable a mobile, online system to formally register fisherfolk in Bohol province. Fisherfolk registration is a key step toward sustainable fisheries management, and it 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 4,000 of those registrants exclusively registered through TV white space technology. Government counterparts have begun to use this new registration data to design and deploy better fisheries management interventions. Further, more than 3,000 schoolchildren in 20 schools now have Internet access via TV white space, and when a 7.2 magnitude earthquake struck Bohol in October 2013, the technology was the only available means of communication for post-disaster relief and rehabilitation efforts.