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Comelec vows electronic transmission in 2010

Posted on: September 4, 2009

Comelec vows electronic transmission in 2010
September 03, 2009 21:45:00
Anna Valmero

MANILA, Philippines—The Commission on Elections (Comelec) and telecom industry stakeholders are working on plans to ensure electronic transmission of election results from 80,000 precincts nationwide in next year’s polls.

Comelec Advisory Council (CAC) member Renato Garcia said telcos vowed to ensure nationwide network coverage by creating a multi-platform contingency plan so that all election results from clustered precincts nationwide are transmitted to canvassing
and consolidation centers from the municipal to national levels.

“In the automated elections, the transmission stage is priority,” said Garcia. “We have to ensure all polling precincts, especially in the provinces can transmit their results immediately after close of polls to speed up
the canvassing and prevent tampering of votes.”

Telcos are public entities that can be “deputized” by Comelec to help ensure successful automation, according to Garcia, who also sits as commissioner in the Commission on Information and Communications Technology.

Garcia disclosed the poll body is working on a contingency plan to enable precincts in areas with limited network coverage to transmit results to the four Comelec national servers designated for the Senate, House of Representatives, Comelec national board of
canvassers and the Kapisanan ng mga Brodkaster ng Pilipinas.

The contingency plan will focus on four areas: use of high power transmission or realignment of sectoral antennas, use of high-gain antennas, use of emerging technologies such as SMS or text messaging,
WiMax, WiFi and two-way radio, to transmit results to
neighboring cell sites and the use of mobile satellite.

Comelec plans to tap all existing technology platforms
to deliver the election results from precinct count optical scan machines (PCOS) to national servers.

Each computerized election result would have an approximate size of 50 kilobytes or comparable to one multimedia messaging service sent via mobile phone, and requires only a few seconds to transmit, Garcia said.

Present in Thursday’s meeting at the Comelec headquarters in Manila were representatives from telecom firms Globe Telecom, Smart Communications, PLDT, Digitel, Eastern Telecoms and Mabuhay Satellite.

Also represented were the National Telecommunications Commission, Telecommunications Office, Philippine
Association of Private Telco Companies, Federation of International Cable TV Association and Philippine Cable TV Association.


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