Internet café operators consolidating in Mindanao

At least five local internet associations in Mindanao have signified intention to attend the 6th Mindanao ICT Congress this month where the Internet Associations in Mindanao Summit is a side event.

He cited that associations in the cities of Iligan, Midsayap, Tagum, Digos, Davao and the province of Compostela Valley have confirmed attendance to the summit since last week.

The 6th MICT Congress, which would be held back-to-back with the 1st BIMP-EAGA ICT Conference, will run from Oct. 23 to 24.

Adolfo Solanor, ICAD president, told MindaNews Wednesday the forming of an island-wide group could be among the major actions to be taken when the internet café associations meet on Oct. 22.

ICAD is among the member-associations of ICT Davao, a group of Davao City's ICT stakeholders.

ICAD also has organized the e-lympics online gaming tournament from Oct. 21 to 23.

Solanor told the Club 888 press forum Wednesday internet cafés have different local issues such as stable electricity, connectivity and also internet rates.

He said cut-throat competition has brought down internet fees to as low as P5 per hour, stretching the business viability of internet cafes in Davao. In 2002, internet rental fees in Davao ranged between P30 and P50 per hour.

The city has around 450 internet cafes, which almost tripled in number since five years ago.

Solanor said the presence of wifi hotspots and broadband internet connection in residential areas have affected sales of internet cafés.

He admitted that the real winners of the low access cost are the internet users, but he said it is at the cost of the local internet access industry.

He stressed that the internet café industry are at the frontlines of the ICT industry.