Box 2. Bottom-up mapping example: PCARI VBTS Project

The PCARI Village Base Station (VBTS) Project ( is a community cellular network project focused on providing basic voice (2G) and SMS service to previously unconnected remote villages along the eastern coast of the Philippines. An example of a non-profit local mobile network (see section 2.2 Utilize the categorization/typology of interventions), the VBTS project partnered with a national MNO for interconnection and permission to utilize the MNO’s spectrum assignment.

Box 2 figure: VBTS deployment sites (Philippines)

Source: J. Dionisio, C. Festin and C. Barela, Village Base Stations (VBTS): Connecting Communities Through Mobile Networks, presentation at the US-ACTI Workshop on Internet Access Centers and Last Mile Delivery in ASEAN, 15 August 2018, University of the Philippines

  • Isolated coastal communities in coves
  • Access is mainly by boat
  • No concrete road network
  • Off-grid power
  • No cellular signal but some residents have cellphones
  • 80% of land area are protected areas
  • Mainly agricultural towns
  • Access to social services limited to basic level services