Broadband to link Ilocos Norte to World

LAOAG CITY, July 1 – Ilocos Norte’s first full wireless broadband will enable all Ilocanos to connect to any corner of the world by September this year, officials here bared the other day.

A P160-million joint venture of ECI of Israel and Singtel of Singapore, the technology uses fiber optics to transmit data to the farthest point of Ilocos Norte.

Governor Imee Marcos said 85 percent of the province will be converted to wifi hotspot before the year ends when the 300 kilometers of fiber-optic cables shall have been laid down around the province to reach remote areas.

Satellite links will be installed in the rolling mountains east of Nueva Era and Dingras towns for residents there to be covered by the broadband.

“This (broadband) is not merely intended for the youngsters addicted to internet games. It will also benefit our residents who make use of skype to connect to their relatives in Hawaii,” Marcos said.

She said the presence of a full wireless broadband is the province’s entry to the digital age and will pave the way for farmers and entrepreneurs to go online for marketing strategies.

“Our farmers could now download prices of tobacco, garlic and rice real time to avoid being shortchanged by buyers in bulk. Our loom weavers could trade their products abroad on-line. While our balikbayans and tourists could avail of fast online booking for homestay and accommodation facilities,” she added.

Marcos said the technology adopts the smart grid system of the US and UK and charges a competitive amount of P10 an hour of internet surfing.

The wireless broadband was initially launched in May making some areas in downtown Laoag as wifi zones.