DICT Secretary Ivan Uy and Rebecca Hunter, senior manager, Government Affairs at SpaceXNews

DICT to deploy satellite connectivity in remote areas next year

Image from DICT Facebook page

Following the announcement of Starlink’s entry to the Philippines, the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) showcased the capabilities of satellite connectivity at a press conference.

Starlink is a satellite internet constellation operated by billionaire Elon Musk’s Space Exploration Technologies Corp. (SpaceX). Engineered by SpaceXStarlink, it boasts speeds of up to 200 Mbps and latency as low as 20ms for residential use.

“The DICT is working to provide digital connectivity across the many islands of the Philippines by building the country’s digital infrastructure, which will also lead to effective e-governance,” said DICT Secretary Ivan Uy. “This will bridge the digital divide in the country, especially in an archipelagic country where laying fiber cables or establishing cell towers in mountainous areas can be challenging.”

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The initial rate for the Starlink satellite dish is $599 (or around P33,000 in this date’s exchange rate) and a monthly subscription of $99 (or P5,500), which is already a premium or enterprise rate for broadband subscriptions.

DICT is looking at deploying this service in the first quarter of 2023. In May, the National Telecommunications Commission approved the satellite provider’s application to operate in the Philippines.

Rebecca Hunter, senior manager, Government Affairs at SpaceX said 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.