Smart SurfTV – Bringing us Closer to a Connected World

If you ask any ordinary Filipino family what appliance or device would they buy if in case they are given the chance to buy one, the answer would probably a television set. What would be next after the television set? It will now depend on their requirement, it could be a refrigerator, airconditioning, washing machine, microware oven or even a gas stove. Will a computer be part of the list? Maybe yes. Maybe no.

Why not a computer? A couple of reasons, perhaps mom and dad are not into technology. Expensive. Family will not prioritize something that will cannot be used by the entire family. No phone lines, so computer with no internet access is useless. Misinformed that computers are bad and will bring no good. I am sure there are a lot of reason still but if money is the problem, then the solution is already here.

Just recently, Smart Communications, Inc.launches what I could say is the most affordable PC in the market today, its called Smart Bro SurfTV. Of course, this is not your typical computer. 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.

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.

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.

Now, to those who can afford, this is nothing. But to those who lives in the poverty line or just above the poverty line, a device like the SurfTV would be a big help. In what way? In bringing the quality of education of their children to another level because their kids can now access information from all over the world right at their living room. Quality information that is only available to the rich is now available to the poor.

If you don’t want to use your TV, you can always buy a separate computer monitor for this. How much is a monitor now? Less than 3,000.00 I think. So PhP 4,500.00 + PhP 3,000.00, you already have a PC that is worth around PhP 7,500.00. Of course you should not expect this device to perform like the way your full-blown computer. I would like to compare this to the early days of the netbook. People say netbooks are slow and under-powered, but look at how many millions of netbooks was sold worldwide. Netbooks has evolved, so I will not be surprised if devices like this SurfTV will become more and more powerful.

To those who is focussing on possibilities that kids might use this device to view pornographic sites or watch sex videos, this I want to say to all of you – can you not for once think of the benefits of what this device can bring to our children and to our educational system? Do you honestly think people will actually use this device to view sex videos over the web, despite knowing that they are billed based on their usage? If they are really into that, don’t you think it would be easier for them to just watch it on a CD/DVD? That’s the problem of some people who thinks they are too knowledgable of things – they always jump the gun on things and fail to see the advantages. People who would rather dwell on the disadvantages are called “losers”. If you can’t be part of the solution, then don’t be part of the problem. Better yet, just keep quiet.

Looking forward, I will not be surprise if Smart will offer this gadget for free in the future and simply earn from the internet access fee – subsidize the unit I say. Knowing Mr. Manny Pangilinan, Mr. Orlando B. Vea, Mr. Danilo J. Mojica and Ms. Annie Naval, it will just be a matter of time for this device to be subsidized. Raising the standards of our children education is far more important than anything else. And I know this is one advocacy and principle that Mr. Pangilinan firmly believes in.

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