The launch of SpaceX/Starlink in the country is expected to result in much faster broadband speed, better connectivity, more capacity for telecommunications services and more affordable rates for consumers
MANILA, PHILIPPINES — Space Exploration Technologies Corp. (SpaceX), which will provide internet services in the Philippines through its Low Earth Orbit (LEO) satellite network constellation called Starlink, is expected to begin operations in the first half of the year, according to DTI Secretary Ramon Lopez.
“Preparations are underway for their registration,” the DTI said in a statement. The trade office added that the company’s application is currently being processed and the potential locations of its gateways are being examined.
The Starlink Satellite Constellation consists of over 1,600 satellites in Low Earth Orbit.
According to Lopez, the launch of SpaceX/Starlink in the country will enable much faster broadband speeds, better connectivity, more capacity for telecommunications services, and lower consumer rates.
”Their system will augment as well as complement existing broadband capacities. This will further capacitate micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs), facilitate online learning, e-commerce and fintech,” he said.
Lopez stated that he met with SpaceX executives Rebecca Hunter and Ryan Goodnight, as well as NTC Deputy Commissioner Edgardo Cabarios and DFNN Executive Chairman Ramon Garcia Jr., to discuss the company’s plans.
Elon Musk is the founder and CEO of SpaceX, a technology and aerospace company.
Starlink previously made headlines in the United States after meetings between SpaceX representatives and private-sector and government officials were made public last year. Presidential candidates Manny Pacquiao and Isko Moreno recently met with SpaceX executives to discuss the company’s entry into the Philippines.
Musk’s internet-service provider has been generating a lot of local buzz recently. President Rodrigo Duterte signed a new law last week that relaxes restrictions on foreigners owning 100% of a business in the country, even if they have no ties to a Filipino company.
The telecommunications industry is now classified as a public-service sector under the law, which allows for full foreign ownership of businesses.
The company is currently establishing a wholly-owned subsidiary in the Philippines and intends to deploy three gateways in the initial phase of its launch.
The Philippines, according to Lopez, will be the first in Southeast Asia to use such technology, which will provide customers with high-speed satellite broadband connectivity, particularly in areas where connectivity has been difficult or impossible.
Following a rate increase this month, Starlink’s standard internet service now costs $110 (around P5,696) per month in the United States, while the upfront cost of its receiver dish has increased to $599 (P31,018) from $499. (P25,840). Subscribers can expect speeds of between 100 and 200 Mbps, according to SpaceX. Starlink Premium, a newly launched premium tier, costs $500 (P25,892) per month and promises speeds of up to 500 Mbps.