By Justine Irish D. Tabile | BusinessWorld
February 23, 2023
ELON MUSK’s Space Exploration Technologies Corp. (SpaceX) announced on Wednesday that its satellite internet unit will now be serving the Philippines.
In a tweet, SpaceX said that the start of Starlink’s local services makes the country one of the places where the company’s services are available.
Sought for comment, the Department of Information and Communications Technology, said that it is yet to inaugurate Starlink’s first earth station.
Meanwhile, Senate Minority Leader Aquilino Martin D. Pimentel III welcomed the announcement as it will help in providing internet access in rural, remote, unserved, and underserved areas in the Philippines.
“The internet has become a basic necessity in this modern world. Hence, I am glad that with SpaceX, we have a better chance of improving internet connectivity in rural areas and poor communities in our country,” said Mr. Pimentel.
“Internet connectivity is crucial in remote learning, digital education, health care and other social services, banking services, as well as information on disaster and emergency preparedness,” he added.
In 2020, Mr. Pimentel wrote to SpaceX regarding how the country could benefit from the internet service of Starlink, which was answered with a meeting with SpaceX’s Vice-President for Satellite Government Affairs Patricia Cooper in December 2021.
“Connectivity is very important for the Philippines given that we are a nation of around 100 million people populating more than 7,000 islands,” Mr. Pimental said. “Thus, it is a duty of the government to ensure a better and more equitable internet connection.”
At the beginning of February, the company announced that it was on track to enter the Philippine market within the first quarter, after being delayed from the previous target of December 2022.
SpaceX partnered with Data Lake, Inc., a Philippine data company owned by Henry Sy., Jr. and Anthony L. Almeda, for the distribution of SpaceX’s Starlink services in the country.
Data Lake previously said that Philippine customers would have to shell out an initial $599 per unit and $99 for monthly connectivity service for a download speed of 200 megabytes per second. — Justine Irish D. Tabile