The Department of Trade and Industry agreed to support the entry of Starlink, the internet unit of Space Exploration Technologies Corp., in the Philippines’ telecommunication space within the last three months of the Duterte administration.
Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez said the government would provide the required assistance to allow SpaceX, a company established by technology billionaire Elon Musk, to launch widespread internet service using its low earth orbit satellite network constellation called Starlink.
“Their system will augment as well as complement existing broadband capacities. This will further capacitate micro, small, and medium enterprises, facilitate online learning, e-commerce and fintech,” said Lopez.
The DTI said the launch of SpaceX/Starlink in the country would enable a much faster broadband speed, better connectivity, more capacity for telecommunications services and more affordable rates for consumers.
Lopez met with SpaceX senior executives Rebecca Hunter and Ryan Goodnight, National Telecommunications Commission deputy commissioner Edgardo Cabarios and DFNN Inc. executive chairman Ramon Garcia Jr. on March 20.
He said the company’s registration is already underway.
Starlink provides high-speed, low-latency broadband internet across the globe. Within each coverage area, orders are fulfilled on a first-come, first-served basis.
Using advanced satellites in a low orbit, Starlink enables video calls, online gaming, streaming and other high data rate activities that historically have not been possible with satellite internet. Users can expect to see download speeds between 100 Mb/s and 200 Mb/s and latency as low as 20ms in most locations.
The constellation consists of over 1,600 satellites in mid-2021, and will eventually comprise of thousands more of mass-produced small satellites in LEO, which communicate with designated ground transceivers.
SpaceX officials said the company is bullish on the growing consumer base and much-improved investment climate in the country with the current major economic reforms.
They noted that the signing of the amended Public Service Act, which allows up to 100 percent foreign ownership of public services in the country, was a critical factor in the company’s decision to invest, as all its technologies are proprietary.
SpaceX is a relatively young but a fast-growing technology and aerospace company owned by Musk.
The company is establishing a local Filipino entity that will be their wholly-owned subsidiary and is targeting to deploy three gateways in the first phase of their launch.
The Philippines is set to be the first in Southeast Asia to avail of Starlink technology that will bring high-speed satellite broadband connectivity to customers.