The Philippine government has given Elon Musk’s SpaceX the green light to enter the country and offer its Starlink broadband services.
The National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) said on Friday that it has approved the registration of Starlink Internet Services Philippines as a value-added service (VAS) provider. This will allow the company to directly access satellite systems, build, and operate broadband facilities to offer internet services in the Philippines.
This is a big development for Starlink, which has been gradually expanding its operations globally. With this approval, the Philippines becomes the first Southeast Asian country where Starlink will offer its services.
“We would like to thank the NTC for issuing Starlink’s VAS license 30 minutes after we submitted our application with complete requirements. This shows the government’s seriousness in addressing the connectivity needs of our countrymen in unserved and underserved areas. This will also prepare us in the event of natural disasters and calamities,” Bien Marquez, counsel, SpaceX, said.
The NTC said that the swift processing of the application was meant to expedite the service’s immediate roll-out. NTC Commissioner Gamaliel Cordoba added that the agency welcomes the entry of Starlink into the Philippines. He said that the roll-out of its internet access services will benefit immensely unserved or underserved areas in the country.
In March, outgoing Manila City Mayor Isko Moreno Domagoso announced that the city government has entered into an agreement with SpaceX’s Starlink to improve the city’s internet connectivity.
The Manila City Council 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 is a unit of SpaceX that provides satellite internet services. The company has over 1,500 low-Earth orbit satellites in its fleet and is expected to offer high-speed low-latency satellite internet service with download speeds of up to 200 Mbps.
In total, there are more than 2,200 Starlink satellites in orbit, according to astrophysicist Jonathan McDowell. This is roughly half of SpaceX’s planned first-generation network of 4,408 Starlink spacecraft. As many as 42,000 satellites may be launched by SpaceX in the future.
Following its launch of Starlink in the Philippines, SpaceX is expected to deploy broadband services in Malaysia by 2023. On a map published on the Starlink website, “starting in 2023” appears when hovering over Malaysia, Laos, Cambodia, Indonesia, Thailand, and Vietnam.