Starlink can cover only northern PH so far – DICT chief
MANILA, Philippines — The Starlink satellite internet service owned by tech billionaire Elon Musk will initially cover only the northern part of the Philippines, Information and Communications Secretary Ivan Uy said on Monday at a Laging Handa briefing.
“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 said, speaking in a mix of Filipino and English.
In May, the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) approved the registration of Starlink Internet Services Philippines Inc., a subsidiary of Musk’s Starlink satellite internet service.
According to Uy, Starlink’s entry into the country will widen the scope of internet coverage, reaching even far-flung areas.
“We know that a lot of areas in the Philippines are not covered by telcos because of the so-called missionary routes. Missionary routes refer to areas wherein telcos will lose revenues if they set up a facility there,” Uy pointed out.
“And the reason for this is that there are very few users and these are not heavy users. So they would lose money if they lay down fiber optic cables or submarine cables,” he added.
According to Uy, Starlink’s satellite technology would be an “ideal” tool to address this problem.
“Because this is a low Earth orbit satellite network, a lot of satellites would have to be deployed. As far as we know, it looks like Starlink plans to deploy a total of 40,000 satellites, and about 2,000 satellites have been deployed. And they will add some more satellites,” he added.
Starlink’s registration in the Philippines now allows the company to directly access satellite systems and build and operate broadband facilities providing internet services, according to the NTC.
The NTC further said that Starlink would offer a high-speed, low latency satellite internet service with download speeds reaching 100 megabits per second (Mbps) to 200 Mbps.
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