The Department of Information and Communications Technology said Friday the entry of Elon Musk’s Starlink in the Philippines will speed up the rollout of the government’s free Wi-Fi program in unserved and underserved areas nationwide.
Starlink Internet Services Philippines Inc., the Philippine unit of SpaceX, earlier secured the approval of the National Telecommunications Commission as a value-added service provider.
DICT Secretary Ivan John Uy said the Philippines is the first country in Southeast Asia to enjoy Starlink’s services that offer download speeds of up to 200 megabits per second.
Uy said Starlink’s entry would be a game-changer as it would augment and complement existing broadband capacities, enabling faster broadband speed and better connectivity, particularly in areas where connectivity is difficult or impossible.
“In welcoming this new technology that is Starlink, our BroadBand ng Masa can now provide free high-speed internet access to our geographically isolated and disadvantaged areas in the Philippines, ensuring that no Filipino will be left behind,” Uy said.
The national government’s free Wi-Fi program BroadBand ng Masa, through DICT, established 4,385 operational live sites in 601 cities and municipalities in Metro Manila and 73 provinces.
Starlink, with its Low Earth Orbit satellite network constellation, can improve internet access in unserved and underserved areas in the country.
Starlink had over 3,580 operational satellites as of February 2023. The company aims to have as many as 40,000 satellites to deliver high-speed, low-cost internet to remote regions across the globe.
Starlink teamed up with Data Lake, a company led by billionaire Henry Sy Jr., to provide satellite broadband services in the Philippines.