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The man behind Philippine Internet industry

More than 12 years have passed since we Filipinos laid our eyes on the fascinating World Wide Web (www) yet very few of us know how the technology all came about in the country.

For every gadget that makes our everyday lives easier, there is a genius behind it. And for the Philippine Internet industry, it is Dr. William "Bill" Torres, known as the "Grandfather of Philippine Internet."
It was Dr. Torres who moved the local information technology scene to the Internet way back during the 1990s when the Information Highway began to be of interest to the academe. His greatest contribution took place in 1992 when he initiated the first informal negotiations with the US National Science Foundation to bring the Internet to the Philippines. He took initial efforts to gain sponsorship for the project from government agencies.
Through his active role in the National Computer Center (NCC), Dr. Torres formed a committee in 1990 headed by Arnie del Rosario of Ateneo de Manila University to look into the possibility of creating an academic/research network that would consist of universities and government institutions. However, said project did not materialize soon but became the backbone for the local network project that linked the Ateneo de Manila University, University of the Philippines, Diliman and De La Salle University.
Just when the academic community became "wired," Dr. Torres began his stint in the commercial scene. He was the co-founder of "the first commercial Internet Service Provider (ISP)" – Mozcom that was established in August 1994 together with Dr. William Gan. MozCom was the product of a successful study launched by Dr. Torres and Dr. Gan under Dr. Gan’s former company, Computer Networks Systems Corporation (ComNet). With Dr. Torres still actively rallying behind Mozcom, only proves his revitalized commitment in the Internet industry through the development of more innovative products and services.
Mozcom is the country’s commercial ISP pioneer established in 1994 and remains to be the most dynamic I.T. enterprise with its wide and pure-IP network that serves as its competitive edge among allies in the industry. Mozcom has become an institution serving the technological needs of the corporate world through the provision of total Internet-based solutions – virtual private networks (VPNs), campus network establishment in the academe, and true dial-up system provision for mobile users from Northern Luzon to Southern Mindanao included. It continuously reinvents the technological front through the development of more innovative products in the relentless aim of "Getting I.T. Done" for academic and business professionals alike with its pride of being the "First of Firsts in the Philippine Internet History."
Dr. Torres’ contribution to the industry does not stop as he continues to perform his role as the current president of the Philippine Internet Service Organization (PISO). His genius and triumph in the technological scene did not come as a surprise for Dr. Torres’ credibility stretches far back in time. In fact, Dr. Torres was there when "IT" all started.
It was in 1966 when he received a scholarship grant from Fulbright Hays of the United States to pursue a graduate’s degree in Computer Sciences. He was the "First Filipino to obtain a Ph.D. in Computer Sciences." His credentials were acknowledged by the Philippine government and was appointed as the managing director of the National Computer Center (NCC) in 1986 during the term of former President Corazon C. Aquino. He held this position until the end of the Aquino government in 1992 during which he simultaneously acted as the chairman of the Information Technology Coordinating Council, now known as the National Information Technology Council or NITC.
After more than a decade, Dr. Torres shares his vision for the industry he all began. "I believe the industry is enjoying a healthy growth in our country despite many difficulties (i.e., very expensive leased lines and dial-up lines) and uncertainties (metering, convergence policy issues, e-commerce, etc.). The Internet will be the main information and communication system for the world and for our country," said Dr Torres. "With all the activities and events taking place in the Internet scene, we may not remain as passive players, we must be challenged and excited and not miss a single opportunity to explore what is next for this CyberWorld, he stressed.
(On March 29, the Philippines celebrates the 12th year anniversary of the day the country got hooked to the Internet) 


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