SEN. Sherwin Gatchalian wants to maximize the use of satellite technology to widen internet access nationwide and speed up the rollout of digital technology in public schools.
The chairman of the Senate Committee on Basic Education, Arts and Culture filed Senate Bill (SB) 2250 or the “Satellite-Based Technologies for Internet Connectivity Act of 2021” which aims to expand access to satellite-based technologies as an alternative connectivity solution to ensure universal access to the internet.
“It would be better as early as now, we prepare the rollout for the digital education in our country while students are not yet allowed to attend school physically,” Gatchalian said on Sunday in a statement.
Under SB 2250, 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.
A satellite is used to get internet signals from the internet service provider (ISP) to provide internet services especially in areas where it is expensive to roll out wired or mobile wireless networks.
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.
SB 2250 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 said.
This initiative aims to fast track the installation of digital connectivity in public schools and DepEd offices, he added.
Under the PEN, the DICT will augment future satellite capacity of the DepEd for students in Last Mile Schools to access digital education.
The use of public schools as common tower sites is also part of the two agencies’ agreement.