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February 9, 2002

The Ivatan Foundation for Development Communication, Inc. (IFDCI) teamed up with a Manila-based foundation, named PH Domain Foundation, to bring Internet connectivity to Batanes. This project which has been worked out for the past one year was finally launched last Saturday, February 9, 2002 with Congressman Abad and Governor Gato gracing the affair. "What we launched actually is an Internet station (or cafe) with 10 workstations, housed at the PCO-Piltel branch along Abad street in Basco" says IFDCI Executive Director Demetrius Narag. The internet station is named BatanesConnect and open for the general public.

Aside from BatanesConnect, IFDCI also launched the Internet connectivity in around 16 offices. These offices have Internet access right in their premises, connected to the IFDCI satellite services via wireless connection. According to IDFCI's partners, this is a "first" in the Philippines. Since BatanesConnect is located in Basco, people from the other towns need to go to Basco to surf or send email. But this early, they are already thinking to eventually extend Internet accessibility to the other towns / islands.

IFDCI charges P50/hour for Internet use at the BatanesConnect. A reasonable rate if not very cheap, considering that the whole system is not the usual telephone--modem-computer-ISP set-up and also considering Batanes' geographical location and remoteness where everything needed to be hooked up via satellite services.

Aside from IFDCI and PH Domain there are two more companies that worked in this project. These are Telesat, Inc. (satellite service provider) and Cisco / Getronics (the supplier of the wireless system used). "Congressman Abad helped us by sourcing fund support for the wireless facilities and for that we are indeed very grateful. The provincial government of Batanes, led by Governor Gato was also very supportive to this project." says Mr. Narag

IFDCI will be giving free E-mail accounts to 100 users, using batanes-ifdci.com.ph. Those who would want to avail of this free e-mail access can register their names to IFDCI for their accounts and their passwords. Anybody who has a free e-mail account can send and receive his e-mail at the BatanesConnect Internet station.

The above news was sent via email by IFDCI office in Batanes (demy.narag@batanes-ifdci.com.ph) Visit their website at www.batanes-ifdci.com.ph

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