Philippines Department of Information and Communications Technology (ICT) representative Ivan John Uy said on Thursday, June 28, that SpaceX’s Starlink broadband service will soon be available in the country. The President of the Philippines Ferdinand Marcos Jr.’s aims to make the satellite internet available in remote areas before 2022 ends.
During a briefing with Philippines reporters, Uy shared that he participated in a conference with SpaceX Starlink representative Rebecca Hunter, who assured that Starlink does not seek to compete with existing telecommunications providers in the country. Starlink “will bridge the digital divide in an archipelagic country like the Philippines where laying fiber cables or establishing cell towers in mountainous areas can be challenging,” said Uy. The Philippines government and ICT will cover the cost of the Starlink service in remote areas when it rolls out.
Starlink is a more cost-effective option than laying out fiber optic cables that are more expensive to install across mountainous island regions. Starlink is ideal for these areas because it is mostly a space-based infrastructure that is simple to access via a user terminal antenna that only needs electricity and a clear view of the sky. Starlink users can access the internet from anywhere where the satellites in orbit beam its signal, with installation in less than ten minutes without help from any professional technician.
However, Uy said that it will take longer for SpaceX Starlink to expand in certain areas across the Philippines. “It will not reach the middle and southern part of the Philippines where we badly need this satellite connectivity. So it may take a bit longer before this service can be availed — until they can launch additional satellites that will cover Central Philippines and Southern Philippines,” Uy told reporters, speaking in his native language.
SpaceX is rapidly expanding Starlink coverage globally with every satellite batch it launches with its fleet of reusable Falcon 9 rocket boosters. The company is on track to launch Starlink missions on a weekly basis to build a more robust internet network. SpaceX’s goal is to achieve deploying at least 12,000 satellites to Low Earth Orbit; It has launched around 2,900 to date.
Featured Image Source: SpaceX