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Happy 20th Birthday Philippine Internet!

20th Year Philippine Internet

Last night, I had the privilege to join the wonderful 20th birthday celebration of Philippine internet. The event was organised by Smart Communications.  All the influential people in the net industry was there.  I felt so honoured to be in the same room with people who made Philippines a connected country.

The Philippines got connected to the world wide web in March 29, 1994.  

Wow, twenty (20) years!!!  
Look at where we are now.  Internet has become a necessity already!  

20PHNet Panelists

It felt nice hearing the stories of people who heavily got involved in the evolution of the internet in the country.  Honestly, I was already in reminiscing mode just listening to them.  Considering how far we have become.  I can truly say that anything is indeed possible!

A timeline of the 20 years of internet in the Philippines:
source: smart.com.ph

20th birthday PH Internet cake

  • August 1986 – The first Philippine Bulletin Board Systems (BBS) are established. Star BBS and Fil-RBBS go online.
  • 1987 – The First Philippine BBS network is established -The Philippine Fidonet Exchange
  • 1991-1993 – Multinational companies like Intel, Motorola, and Texas Instruments came in to provide e-mail services.
  • June 1993 – Backed by the Department of Science and Technology and the Industrial Research Foundation, the Philnet project (now PHNET) was born.
  • July 1993 – Phase I of Philnet Project: Internet & e-mail correspondence among students of partner universities in the Philippines and the Victoria University of Technology in Australia.
  • November 1993 – Phase II of the Philnet Project: A grant-in-aid of P12.5M was provided for the use of PCASTRD-DOST and the Industrial Research Foundation (IRF).
  • March 13, 1994 – The PHnet Basic Principles and the Internet Code of Conduct were established.
  • March 29, 1994, 1:15AM – Benjie Tan of Comnet (supplier of routers to Philnet) is the first to connect to the Internet from the PLDT office in Makati.
  • March 29, 1994, 10:18AM – “We’re in.” The first public demonstration of a live Internet connection is displayed at the University of San Carlos in Cebu.
  • April 1994 – The Advance Science and Technology Institute (ASTI) under the DOST, the Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the University of Santo Tomas (UST) joined PHNet.
  • May 1994 – The University of the Philippines Los Baños (UPLB) and the DOST central office joined PHNet.
  • June 1994 – Mosaic Communications (Moscom) offers dialup Internet subscriptions to the public.
  • October 1994 – The Industrial Research Foundation (IRF), Philippine Network Foundation, Inc. (PFI), Saint Louis University in Baguio (SLU) and Xavier University (XU) became a part of PHNet.
  • December 10, 1994 – The Network Assistance Group (NAG) was established to provide assistance to ISPs & member nodes.
  • March 1995 – Republic Act 7925, known as the Public Telecommunications Act of the Philippines, was passed.
  • June 1995 – Mindanao State University (MSU), the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI), Asian Institute of Management (AIM), and PDX became connected to PHNet.
  • June to August 1995 – Establishment of commercial ISPs such as IBM Philippines, Globe Telecom’s G-Net, Infocom’s Sequel.Net, Iphil Communications, and Tridel Net and Commercial Online services such as Virtual Asia and Cybernet Live.
  • 1996 – Entry of foreign ISPs in the Philippines such as Asia Online, a HongKong-based online service, and Pacific Internet, a Singapore-based ISP that acquired Philworld.
  • 1996 – Bayantel and Sky Internet teamed up to provide the United Network Access (UNA).
  • 1996 – The Philippine Internet Services Organization (PISO) was established.
  • 1996 – Establishment of the Philippine Internet Exchange (PHIX).
  • June 1996 – Cebu, Zamboanga, Sorsogon, Davao, Bacolod, Legaspi, Naga gained connection via the Cisco 7000 router.
  • 1997 – The International Data Corporation (IDC) estimated that there were approximately 85,000 Internet users in the Philippines in 1997.
  • 1997 – Global roaming networks allowed subscribers of local ISPs to access Net services abroad and be billed locally.
  • 1997 – The biggest television networks gained online platforms with ABS-CBN Interactive Web and GMANetwork.com.
  • 1997 – Major broadsheets such as Businessworld Online, Manila Bulletin, Philippine Star, Manila Times and the Philippine Daily Inquirer went online as well.
  • 1997 – Establishment of Philippine Network Information Center/Infrastructure Consortium (PHNIC), Philippine Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT-PH), and user groups such as PhilJUG (java) , PhilPlug (Linux), ISiP (Internet Society of the Philippines), APRICOT (Asia-Pacific Region Internet Conference on Operating Technology).
  • 1998 – Bert is Evil won a Webby Award in San Francisco, making Dino Ignacio the first Filipino to win the prestigious award.
  • 1998 – San Miguel Draft Beer becomes the first fully-functional e-commerce website in the country.
  • 1999 – PinoyExchange.com forum started operations and became one of the biggest online communities.
  • 1999 – Auction sites like Ebay, eAuctions.ph, and PinoyAuctions became popular.
  • 2000 – Rise of blogging and online journals that showcase personal text-based content.
  • 2001-2003 – Increasing growth in internet usage at home with the rise of social networking sites like Friendster, MySpace, and Multiply and online gaming platforms like Level Up Games and Ragnarok.
  • January 2001 – In an event witnessed by NTC officials, Smart, in cooperation with Nokia, conducted the first successful trials on experimental 3G systems in the Philippines. The company also started rolling out base stations that were easily upgradeable to 3G technology.
  • June 2005 – Smart launches Smart Bro.
  • November 2005 – In November 2005, Smart demonstrated its readiness to offer a full range of 3G services in a live video conference call and an international roaming call at the annual conference of the Inter-Working Roaming Expert Group of the GSM Association in Cebu City. Smart was the first Philippine telco to demo its 3G technology in an international conference.
  • January 1, 2006 – This was the first time the 3G technology was demoed on television by PLDT and Smart chairman Manuel V. Pangilinan and celebrity icon Kris Aquino over the Buzz.
  • February 14, 2006 – Launch of “Smart 3G”.
  • November 2009 – Smart is the first telco that had successfully completed testing of the most advanced broadband technologies such as HSPA+, Worldwide Interoperability for Microwave Access or WiMAX, and Long Term Evolution or LTE in various parts of the country.
  • February 2011 – At the GSMA Mobile World Congress held at Barcelona, Smart unveiled the Netphone™ — its own line of Android-compliant, path-breaking smartphones designed for emerging markets. The Netphone™ is the world’s first smartphone backed by an operator-managed platform (SmartNet).
  • August 25, 2012 – Smart was the first to launch the country’s fastest fourth generation (4G) mobile broadband commercial service running on Long Term Evolution (LTE) technology.

My Internet Story

20th PH Internet Celebration

The first time I used the Internet was to chat with strangers. I had applications like TelNet, MiRC, ICQ, Yahoo Messenger, MSN messenger were my favorites to use. The Internet was new! So can you imagine all the yuppies chatting? I loved that I was able to gain friends by logging on the Internet. In fact, some of my friends today? I met them from the time I was chatting at MiRC.

While I was sheltered during my younger years, the Internet was the only thing that my mom allowed me to do. (Thank you, Mom!)

I would keep my daily allowance so I could buy monthly Internet load. Internet was too expensive then. I remember saving money to get PHP500, PHP1,000, and PHP2,000 prepaid Internet load cards.

Internet was too addictive that I would spend days and nights chatting.  I came to the point that I became a bit irresponsible —> not eating at the right time, skipping meals, losing sleep, and not doing anything, but logging on to the internet.

I enjoyed being connected that I even studied HTML and created several websites using only notepad.  That time, I knew that I was studying the wrong course.  The internet only came to the Philippines when I already graduated from high school.  It was too bad because I felt I wasted 4 years of my time studying Pharmacy (I initially planned to be a doctor).  During 2nd/3rd year of college, I decided that I won’t be practicing the course. I decided to just self-study and try my luck in getting experience from IT companies.

Geocities was my favourite place.  MiRC was my life back then.  The internet was my food, my happiness, and my inspiration.  Looking back, I never regretted it.

Fast forward to 2014, I still am addicted to internet.  Hey, I’m now blogging!  From notepad to Dreamweaver, now I moved to wordpress.  HTML 4 is now HTML 5.  Internet is way cheaper!  We don’t even want 2Mbps.  We want more!  We want LTE.  Now, we are expecting advanced LTE.

Internet of things is a thing now.  We look forward to more innovations.  I’m too excited and too looking forward for the next things to come!

William Torres – The Father of Philippine Internet

Father of PH Internet

One of the highlights of my evening was being able to have a picture with the father of Philippine internet!  My gosh, William Torres — The person who made it possible for the Philippines to be connected to the world wide web!  He was the first to negotiate with the US National Science Foundation to bring the internet to the Philippines.  He took the initiative to get funds from government agencies to make this possible.  He was successful and here we are 🙂

Happy Happy Happy Happy 20th birthday Philippine internet!  
Let’s have many many many more celebrations to come!

Roch Signature

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