Manila links deal with Starlink to boost city’s slow connectivity

Manila Starlink conectivity
Heavy traffic in Manila city, Philippines. Metro Manila is one of the biggest urban areas in the world with 24 million people. Image by Tupungato | Bigstockphoto

Mayor Isko Moreno Domagoso of Manila has announced a partnership between the city government and SpaceX’s Starlink to improve the city’s internet connectivity.

The Manila City Council recently passed Resolution No. 46, allowing Domagoso to negotiate or enter into an agreement with Starlink for their high-speed broadband service with low latency.

Starlink’s satellite broadband service significantly improves the internet connection in Manila, which is essential for applications such as weather predictions, communications, navigation, and others.

With download speeds of up to 200 megabits per second and latencies of 20 milliseconds, the service also benefits online gamers and content creators in the city. Starlink has just one caveat: a “clear view of the sky.”

As early as 2021, national government officials and telcos have been meeting with the SpaceX team to discuss the possibility of expanding Starlink’s services to the Philippines.

In April of last year, reports revealed that Starlink was in negotiations with Philippine internet service provider Converge ICT, with the latter’s CEO Dennis Anthony Uy telling local media that a deal “is on”. Dennis Uy is also behind the country’s third telco, DITO Community.

Further developments on these negotiations have yet to be announced. Meanwhile, the partnership between Manila and Starlink is a welcome development, as the Philippines has been lagging in terms of internet connectivity. Starlink’s satellite internet may also benefit the country, where connecting more than 7,000 islands remains a challenge for land-based infrastructure.

According to a December 2021 by Ookla, the country ranks only 90th out of 138 countries in terms of mobile internet speeds. This means that a significant portion of the population does not have access to a fast and reliable internet connection.

This is not the first time that the Manila city government has looked into partnering with a private company to improve its internet connection. Back in 2019, Manila also partnered with PLDT Smart in order to provide free Wi-Fi in selected public areas.

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