SMART launches internet-on-TV box in the Philippines

Tuesday, February 23rd, 2010
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MANILA — Filipino families in every corner of the country can now have Internet access with the help of the most ubiquitous home appliance — the television set. This is now possible with the launch of Smart Bro SurfTV, a new, world-first service from Smart Broadband, Inc. (SBI), a subsidiary of leading wireless services provider Smart Communications, Inc. (SMART).

Smart Bro SurfTV is a device that connects to a television set through a quick and easy procedure, to provide Internet access using Smart Bro’s nationwide coverage. When plugged into the RCA port of a color TV set, Smart Bro SurfTV provides users a ready-to-run Internet experience, and users can surf, chat, and email — through a multi-tasking TV — at home.

“Over the last few years we have been steadily advancing our Internet for All advocacy and investing our energies to make wireless Internet more affordable and widely available – whether via mobile phone, the PC, or laptop – anytime, anywhere, so that Filipinos may benefit from it. Offering Smart Bro SurfTV is a natural progression of that strategy, this is a service that will put the Internet right in the homes of Filipino families,” said Orlando B. Vea, Chief Wireless Advisor of SMART.

Internet in all homes

Smart Bro SurfTV comes in a boxed set complete with a keyboard, a mouse, a remote control, and a Smart Bro USB stick-type modem with a prepaid SIM, pre-loaded with PhP100 worth of load. The entire kit costs only PhP4,500, and Internet access costs only PhP10 for every 30 minutes. Load for the prepaid Smart Bro SIM is available through any of SMART’s network of over a million Smart Load sellers all over the country.

“Limited access to devices such as desktops computers used to be a barrier to bringing the benefits of the Internet to Filipinos. Even basic desktop computers are still priced beyond what most households can afford. This is what we hope to address through Smart Bro SurfTV. With this service, people can access the Internet using a low-cost device and an appliance they already have,” said Danilo J. Mojica, head of SMART’s Wireless Consumer Division.

Broadband for all

Smart Bro SurfTV widens the Internet service portfolio of SMART, through SBI, which reported a million broadband subscribers by end-2009, the largest in the industry.

In the same period, SMART had also extended the coverage of its GSM cellular network to all of the country’s 1,619 cities and municipalities.

SBI’s high-speed broadband service covers the country’s major towns and cities, through a network of 3G/High-speed Packet Access (HSPA) cellular and fixed broadband base stations. SMART is the only Philippine telco and one of only a few in the world that have deployed HSPA running on the 850-MHz and 2100-MHz frequency bands, which offer improved coverage quality and data rate capacity for mobile broadband.

SMART is also set to deploy the more advanced broadband technologies such as HSPA+, which delivers three to four times the speed of HSPA, and Worldwide Interoperability for Microwave Access or WiMAX, which is expected to complement its HSPA network.

“In the same way that SMART’s innovative but affordable offerings made the use of voice and SMS ubiquitous, we would like to turn broadband into another universally available service from which every Filipino will benefit. With our unique and superior combination of wireless broadband networks — HSPA, HSPA+, WiMAX, and Canopy networks — blanketing the whole country, SMART is on track to making broadband available and accessible to all,” Vea said.