By Angel Castillo
THE city is currently being eyed by a tech company to be the pilot testing ground for an ambitious project that will increase internet and mobile connectivity.
Technology Advocacy Group / National Transmission Corporation (TAGNTC) members appeared before the city council for a request that Baguio Mayor Benjamin Magalong be authorized to enter into a memorandum of agreement (MOA) with the corporation for the connectivity expansion project in the city.
The project, dubbed Project Lightning, would see the use of “eggs” attached to existing Benguet Electric Cooperative (BENECO) power lines to convert the city’s power grid into an Internet and cell coverage network.
Under the project, egg-shaped machines would be installed at certain points in the city’s power grid, which would then serve as access points for Internet and cellphone coverage.
According to TAGNTC Chief Technical Adviser Benjamin Gertes, the Project Lightning egg machines will use the magnetic fields generated by power lines to power themselves, therefore incurring limited operation costs to the users.
First, to be served, should the city agree to allow the installation of the Project Lightning eggs, would be schools and government facilities, with Teachers’ Camp first to be given coverage, according to Gertes.
The project is intended to eventually provide connectivity to all parts of Baguio that have access to electricity, especially now in the time of distance learning demanding for consumers to have reliable access to the Internet.
The eggs have previously been tested in a limited capacity in the United States, and have been approved by the Department of Information and Communication Technology (DICT).
Gertes said that the corporation is eyeing the city as ground zero for the technology as the Cordillera Region experiences harsh weather and difficult terrain, making it an ideal testing site for the survivability of the project.
The project will initially be at no cost to the city, according to Gertes, and the details of how to monetize the project can come at a later point following discussions between the TAGNTC and the city itself.