Smart Chief Wireless Advisor Orlando B. Vea (left) and UP President Alfredo E. Pascual (right) with the free connectivity Memorandum of Agreement
Smart Communications, Inc. and the University of the Philippines (UP) have signed a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) cementing the telecom’s commitment to providing free Wi-Fi hotspots and internet connectivity throughout the UP campuses nationwide. The MOA signing took place at the Executive House in UP Diliman, Quezon City, with UP President Alfredo E. Pascual and Smart Chief Wireless Advisor Orlando B. Vea representing the two sides.
“This fosters more collaborative learning within the UP community, and allows every Isko and Iska to access online learning resources for free,” said Vea. “For us at Smart, this is part of our vision for digital inclusion, of making the Internet more accessible so that more Filipinos get to enjoy its benefits.”
For his part, UP President Pascual said, “This is more than just a simple triumph of technology. The hotspots will be a catalyst in unifying the seven constituent universities and one constituent college of the UP System and will signal the start of greater collaboration between UP and Smart in bringing Philippine education into the 21st century.”
A total of 120 hotspots and eight base stations will be installed throughout the UP system, adding to the six already in operation. These will allow access to whitelisted websites agreed upon by Smart and UP, with those not included in the list accessible without charge for 30 minutes before consuming the usual data rates.
The implementation of these internet access points, paired with the improvement of the information management systems linking UP’s constituent universities, further realize the eUP project which seeks to boost the international competitiveness of the country’s sole national university.
“The eUP project is envisioned to seamlessly integrate UP’s information and communications infrastructure system-wide, enhance service delivery, and achieve operational excellence,” said Pascual.
“We have to start somewhere, right now — as they say in UP — kung hindi tayo, sino; kung di ngayon, kailan? This MOA signing is a good way to help make the eUP project a reality. We’re in this together,” stated Vea.
Smart also has an existing partnership with the UP Open University, helping it facilitate courses in Android Mobile Applications Development and Technopreneurship via the massive online open course model.