Department of Information and Communications Technology Secretary Ivan John E. Uy and SpaceX Executive Rebecca Hunter conducted a joint press conference on 27 July 2022, at the Manila Hotel. They highlighted the salient features of satellite connectivity which is eyed to roll out in the country before the end of the year.
“The DICT is closely following the directives of President Ferdinand Marcos Jr., that is to provide digital connectivity across the many islands of the Philippines by building the country’s digital infrastructure, that will also lead to effective e-governance,” ICT Chief Uy asserted.
“This will bridge the digital divide in the country especially in an archipelagic country like the Philippines where laying fiber cables or establishing cell towers in mountainous areas can be challenging,” he added.
Starlink is a satellite internet constellation operated by SpaceX, providing satellite Internet access coverage to 40 countries that aims for global coverage. Engineered by SpaceXStarlink, it boasts speeds of up to 200 Mbps and latency as low as 20ms for residential use.
Starlink is expected to connect rural and remote communities where connectivity is unreliable or completely unavailable, or Geographically Isolated and Disadvantaged Areas (GIDAs). Through this initiative, Filipinos from remote areas can have access to education, health services, and online banking, among other digital needs.
SpaceX Executive Rebecca Hunter shared that Starlink will not compete with the existing telco providers in the country but instead will be a complementary connectivity provider to fill in the ‘gaps’ especially in the unserved and underserved areas in the country to further expand connectivity.
Secretary Uy also shared during the event that the Philippines is now one of the most promising investment destinations in Asia thanks to the recently amended Public Service Act that liberalized the country to make it more investor friendly, which in turn will generate more jobs and bring economic progress to the country. “To our kababayans, please be patient and wait just a little bit more. The Executive department led by Pres. Bongbong Marcos Jr. is hitting the ground running and we will deliver the promised connectivity. Connectivity na pangarap niyo ay pangarap ko,” Sec. Uy said in closing.