Strategic Road Map For A Better Internet Café Industry
Strategic Road Map for a Better
Internet Café Industry
2010 – 2012
Page | 1
Internet Café Industry in the Philippines
An internet café or cybercafé is a place where one can use a computer
with Internet access, most for a fee, usually per hour or minute; sometimes
one can have unmetered access with a pass for a day or month, etc. It may
serve as a regular café as well, with food and drinks being served.
The concept and name, Cybercafé, was invented at the beginning of
1994 by Ivan Pope. Commissioned to develop an Internet event for an arts
weekend at the Institute of Contemporary Arts (ICA) in London. Pope wrote
a proposal outlining the concept of a café with Internet access from the
tables. The event was run over the weekend of 12-13 March 1994 during the
'Towards the Aesthetics of the Future' event.
In June 1994, The Binary Cafe, Canada's first Internet café, opened in
Here in the Philippines, the first internet cafes was established in the late
1990’s as gaming centers whose computers were connected by a local area
network (LAN) in which offline games such as counter strike were usually
played. It later evolved as internet cafes with the introduction of internet
access through a dial up connection.
Greater advancement and improvements to the industry was achieved
with the introduction of a faster internet connection service commonly
known as DSL (Digital Subscriber Line). More services were added such as
online gaming, video streaming and a much faster internet browsing.
In a report that was prepared by Yahoo and Nielsen, it states that
even if the Philippines has a low computer penetration rate of 14 percent, it
still has a strong internet presence since 70 percent of internet related
access in big cities and municipalities around the country is primarily done
through the internet cafes. A recent survey that was conducted by a gaming
Page | 2
company stated that there are about 11,000 licensed internet cafes that
could be found in the country but the number could increase if we take into
consideration the vast amount of unlicensed internet cafes operating in
private homes and communities.
Role of the Internet Café to the Community
The internet café owner has to realize the important role to which his
industry plays in the community. We are the front liners in the rapidly
changing world of information communication technology. We serve as the
bridge between the community that could not afford to have their own
computer systems and DSL connection at home to the rapidly changing
world of the internet. We provide a service and have the technology to be
able to change the social and economic conditions in the municipalities and
cities in which we operate.
Services Offered by Internet Cafes
Internet cafes is a service oriented business organization that offers a
variety of services that is related to information communication technology.
Examples of services are:
1. Computer Rental – the bread and butter of any internet café.
Computers are usually rented out to customers by the hour or depending
upon the needs of the customers for the following activities:
Internet Browsing – searching the internet for information
through the use of a web browser
Online gaming - Online games are played over some form of
computer network, now typically on the Internet. One advantage of
online games is the ability to connect to multiplayer games, although
single-player online games are quite common as well.
Offline gaming- these are stand alone games that does not
require the use of an internet connection to be played.
Word processing or desktop publishing
Page | 3
2. The most common service offered is typing or encoding. This usually
appeals to customers who are too lazy to type, or who have little no access
to a computer. This service also appeals to busy people who don’t have time
to type and edit their material. These customers would simply leave their
work to be typed and pick it up after it is completed.
3. Saving and transferring digital files in compact disk through the use of
a cd burner.
4. Computer Repair Services – most internet café owners are computer
technicians who has the capacity to fix the hardware and software
5. An internet café can also provide specialized or sophisticated software
to be available for use by its customers. These software may be kind that
the hard to find, or expensive, or utilizes a large amount of memory.
6. Another service that an internet café can offer is photo editing. The
client might have a picture that can be scanned or digitally edited, fixed up,
or restored. While photo editing can be done at home, it takes time to do the
more difficult or complicated jobs, and people would rather pay somebody to
do the job properly rather that bungle it themselves.
7. Video editing is also another service that can be offered by the internet
café, in much the same way as photo editing.
8. Internet cafés can also offer simple programming solutions. They can
offer programs for the home offices or small business, like basic databases
or inventory software.
9. The internet café may also offer workshops or lessons. These lessons
may range from simple familiarization with the computer to more difficult
subjects. One-on-one tutorials by the café staff may also be provided to
clients who require the service.
10. Some internet cafés have amenities that make them more like meeting
places or boardrooms, where they offer videoconferencing, group discussion
tables, and other facilities for meetings and group work.
Page | 4
Kinds of Internet Cafes
1. Internet Only Cafes – these are internet cafes that cater exclusively to
internet users only. No one line and off line games are installed.
2. Pure Gaming Internet Cafes – These are internet cafes that exclusively
cater to both on line and off line gamers. Their internet browsers are
deliberately disabled to prevent game lag.
3. Combined Internet Cafes – these internet cafes cater to both internet
users and gamers.
4. Internet Kiosks – is a computer terminal that provides information
access via electronic methods. Interactive kiosks sometimes resemble
telephone booths, but can also be used while sitting on a bench or chair.
Interactive kiosks are typically placed in high foot traffic settings such as
hotel lobbies or airports.
Basic Characteristics of the Internet Café Industry
1. It is a capital extensive type of industry – people with very limited
amount of capital at start up should not consider engaging themselves
in this type of activities. Investments have to be made for the
physical facilities, Computer hardware and software, peripherals,
electrical and network setup. A certain amount of capital funds should
be set aside to subsidize the first few months of operations as you are
building your customer base. These would include payment for salaries
of personnel, telephone, DSL charges, rent and electricity bills.
2. It is a highly technical type of industry – most of the internet café
owners engage themselves in the internet café business without the
sufficient technical skills that they need in order to maintain their
computer units. Thus they rely much on the services of computer
technicians once they encounter some problems with their units. The
services of these technicians are often time very expensive. Internet
Page | 5
café owners must have a sufficient knowledge on maintaining their
computer units in order to minimize these types of cost.
3. It has a rapid rate of obsolescence - Moore’s law, proposed by
Intel founder Gordon Moore in 1965, states that at a price point the
processing speed of computer chips double every 18 months. Moore’s
law only tells us that any computer units that are bought today will be
obsolete within two years. It would be replaced by computer units
much more powerful and efficient at a lesser price than what it is
today. This is certainly true in the online gaming requirements that
keeps on increasing each year thus internet café owners have no other
choice but to upgrade their systems so often just to keep up with the
4. It has no central government body to control it – unlike other
industries in which a certain government agency is assigned to
regulate it, internet café operations is still considered to be a backyard
industry thus no central government body is setting the standards and
regulations in which to control the players in the industry. Regulating
the industry is often left to the local government that provides
ordinances and regulations that are sometime detrimental to the
development of the internet café industry.
5. It has a high level of competition – it seems that a lot of people
would like to engage themselves in this business. I don’t really blame
them for in this industry your limitations would only be your own. The
potential in offering services through the use of the internet is
unlimited all you have to do is to find the right information that is
available in the internet. This provides a situation in which there are
too many players catering to a specific market thus cut throat pricing
is a regular feature of this industry.
Page | 6
I-Café Pilipinas is a national network
of internet café owners, operators and
associations in the Philippines. It strives to
become their voice on a national level to
represent their interest on issues pertaining
to efficient operation of their business. It
hopes to represent the ideals, aspirations
and dreams of each internet café owner,
operator and association as they take to the
task in contributing to the development of
their communities by providing affordable
internet access and superior service.
I-Café Pilipinas is a consultative assembly of its members. It hopes to
provide them a venue in which discussions could be held on issues affecting
the efficient and profitable operation of their business. It hopes to
incorporate training programs, linkages with allied business and proper
representation on a national level. It would never represent nor will ever
strive to be a regulating body that would imposes regulations and imposes
fines on its members.
I-Café Pilipinas believes that collaboration is the key in creating the
dynamics to institute changes in the internet café industry. It does not and
will not strive to supersede or to take over any formal internet café
association already existing on the local level. In fact it encourages the
formation of local internet café organizations in places in the country where
there is none. It hopes to work with the officials and members of the local
internet café associations by providing them a national program that could
lead to the total development and acceptance of the internet café as a
partner in nation building.
I-Café Pilipinas keeps the door open for discussion rather than taking
on a combative stand on issues affecting the operations of the internet café.
It hopes to form consultative linkages with government institutions and
Page | 7
allied industries in the formulation of policies that would greatly affect the
“Challenging the I-Cafe Industry in the Philippines to do better”
I-Café Pilipinas believes in the internet industry and its important
role in providing affordable internet access to the Philippine community. It
believes that the internet cafe industry could provide greater opportunities
and can contribute to community development. It believes that through
proper education and training, the internet cafe owners, operators and the
different icafe associations could be a great influence in the daily lives of the
average Filipino through information communication technology.
I-Café Pilipinas believes in the following:
Community Building – the I-cafe owner is an integral part of today’s
community by providing affordable internet access to a majority of
Filipinos who could not afford to have one at home or at work. He is
the bridge that provides the community with access to the wider world
of the internet.
Professionalism – the I-cafe owner should be aware of his great
responsibility in operating an internet cafe in their respective
community. As compared to other industries his business
establishment creates a greater impact to the community in which he
operates in that sometimes could change the lives of the people
Ethical Use of Technology – “Great Powers means Great
Responsibilities”, the internet cafe owner being in the fore front in the
rapid changing technology should be guided on how to use these
technology that would bring improvements in the lives of the people in
their respective communities.
Page | 8
Social Entrepreneurship – engaging in business not only for profit.
Internet cafe owners are socially aware to the effects of his business to
his customers and the community.
Our Mission is our purpose that serves as the standard against which we
weigh our actions and decisions:
To uplift the image of the internet cafe as a business that
could contribute to community development
To uplift the quality of life of the internet cafe
To create the dynamics to inculcate values formation and
fair business standards for the internet cafe
Our vision serves as the framework and guides every aspect of our network
by describing what we need to accomplish in order to continue achieving
sustainable, quality growth.
Internet Cafe Owner/Operator – to provide programs,
trainings and linkages that would improve the manner in
which they are engage in their business
Community – Uplifting the standards of services of each
internet cafe business around the country to ensure of
their continuous consumer satisfaction.
Partners – provide meaningful linkages with customers
and allied companies to ensure the continuous growth and
development of the internet cafe industry.
Page | 9
Our values serve as a compass for our actions and describe how we behave
in the world.
o Leadership: The courage to shape a better future
o Transparency: What we do, we let other people know
o Collaboration: Leverage collective genius
o Integrity: Be real
o Accountability: If it is to be, it’s up to me
o Passion: Committed in heart and mind
o Camaraderie: Friendship through advocacy
o Professionalism: We do unto others what we expect them to
do to us.
I-Cafe Pilipinas is a social advocacy group the primary purpose of
which is to start the initiative in building a national network of internet cafe
owners around the country. it is aiming to be the voice of every internet cafe
owners/operators on issues that greatly affects the operations of his
Page | 10
I-Café Pilipinas Strategic Roadmap for the Internet Café Industry
The challenge is great for the internet café industry to transform itself
from its present condition to be the leader in information communication
technology integration in the community level. There is a need to uplift the
image of the industry from all levels in order to command respect from
government authorities and their client-aficionados.
I. Creating the National Network
I-Café Pilipinas is only a national advocacy network. It primarily
concerns itself in creating networks and formulating programs that aims to
bring improvements in the internet café industry in the Philippines. It relies
on a national based network of its affiliates in order to deliver these
programs on to the different internet café owners and operators around the
Identification and strengthening of the different internet
café associations at the community level. – I-Café Pilipinas
hopes to identify and get in touch with the different internet café
associations that already exist in the different parts of the country
to discuss with them possible collaborations that could lead to the
strengthening of the industry in their respective places.
Encouraging the formation of internet café associations on
places where there is none – I-Café Pilipinas hopes to provide
information and training to internet café owners in a particular area
to encourage them to form an internet café association of their own
so that they would be properly represented.
Formation of Local Chapters – in places wherein the local
internet café associations are not willing to form a collaborative
alliance with I-Café Pilipinas or would not want to form their own
internet café associations the formation of a local I-Café Pilipinas
Chapter of Affiliates would be encourage as long as there is a
clamor among the internet café owners in the area to form one.
Page | 11
II. Linking the Internet Café operators with the rest of the
I-Café Pilipinas believes that finding solutions to the problems facing
the internet café industry does not only lay with the internet café owners
themselves but it also need the involvement of the rest of the stakeholders
in the ICT industry. Part of the work of I-Café Pilipinas is to network with
the other stakeholders in the ICT industry particularly in the following areas:
Affordable Computer Hardware and peripherals – the
success of an internet café operator depends on the fact that he
must have access to affordable computer packages and
peripherals that would suit his needs and the needs of his
Affordable Computer Software Systems – I-Café Pilipinas
hopes to bring a resolution to the use of pirated software in the
internet café industry by talking with the software developers on
a program that would bring about an affordable software
package to the internet café operators. In order for the industry
to grow it must not be in constant threat of being shutdown or
being harassed by law enforcers due to the proliferation of
pirated software in the industry. I-Café Pilipinas hopes to
inculcate to the internet café owner that purchasing of genuine
software is not really an expense but of an investment on their
part since they would be able to enjoy other benefits that they
could use as an add on their basic services.
Access to Affordable Capital – One of the primary reason why
an internet café owner could not grow in this industry is that
they are limited to the amount of money that they have invested
in their respective internet cafes. Finding additional and
affordable capital that they could use for additional computer
hardware and improvements are very difficult to come by due to
the fast depreciation of computer units and most of them lack
Page | 12
the necessary legal documentation so that they could be eligible
to this kind of facilities. I-Café Pilipinas hopes to network with
financial institutions that offers micro lending facilities to provide
affordable capital to the internet café owner. In the long run it is
hoped that I-Café Pilipinas would be able to establish an ICT
cooperative in each of its affiliates.
Better relationship with the national government agencies
and the local government units – I-Café Pilipinas hopes to
strive for a better working relationship with national government
agencies and the local government units in order to come up
with policies and legislations that would aim to provide support
instead of restrictions and greater participation of the internet
café industry in community affairs.
Better Relationship with Educational Institutions – For
years now the internet café and educational institution has been
at odds with each other due to the nature of its operations. I-
Café Pilipinas hopes to hopes to bridge the gap between the two
by making the internet café as a platform for education and safe
internet access to the students.
The Internet Café as a Platform for the Development of
eCommerce and eGovernance in the Philippines. – I-Café
Pilipinas believes in the power of the internet in developing trade
and commerce in a particular area. It also believes in bringing
government services closer to the people through the use of the
World Wide Web. It hopes to develop the internet café as a
platform in which these services could be availed by the
respective communities that could bring economic development
and greater government presence.
III. Continuous development of the Internet Café Owner
I-Café Pilipinas hopes to improve the conditions of the internet café
industry in the Philippines by providing standards in which will improve the
Page | 13
services rendered to the customers by the internet café operators. It does
not subscribe to the idea of imposing regulations but strives for the
continuous development of the internet café owner through education. I-
Café Pilipinas believes that fear through the imposition of regulations would
not work and is committed in the formation of educational materials that
would inform the internet café owner on how to properly run his business to
earn a decent profit from his operations.
I-Café Pilipinas believes that innovation is the key in improving the
present situation of the internet café industry. It hopes to provide
information to the internet café owner on the latest innovations and trends
in the ICT industry through various ways:
Through regular workshops and seminars to be organized by the
different internet café associations in the different places in the
Through postings in our website, forum and blogs
By subscribing to our emagazine that would be made available to
the internet café owner on a regular basis
It hopes to form the I-Café Academy that would be the one in
charge of the training of the internet café owner either online or
by attending one of its official classes.
Page | 14