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The Philippines Set to Get Internet Directly via Satellite Technology

The Philippines is set to make regional history. In a few months, it will be the first Southeast Asian nation to use the internet via satellite technology. The provider of the service is one of the most aggressive American space exploration companies that is currently registering its business in the country.

The groundbreaking move has been confirmed by Ramon Lopez, the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) Secretary. He disclosed that the space-focused company is expected to formally put up its operation in the country in the remaining three months of the current administration.

Lopez announced this after a meeting with the space company’s senior officers. The DTI chief said the company is finalising its initial investments here, but it is already in the process of selecting sites for gateways.

The company noted that the signing of the amended Public Service Act (PSA), which allows up to 100% foreign ownership of public services in the country, was a critical factor in the company’s decision to invest, as all its technologies are proprietary, said Ramon Lopez, Secretary of the Department of Trade and Industry.

The company will provide internet services in the country using its Low Earth Orbit (LEO) satellite network constellation. It should be a massive endeavour as it has over 1,600 satellites as of the middle of 2021. The effects would be monumental affecting just about every sector of society. According to Lopez, the system will augment as well as complement existing broadband capacities. In doing so, this will further capacitate micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs), and facilitate online learning, e-commerce and fintech.

Indeed, that should move the needle in terms of economic development. He added that having satellite internet services in the country will help in the development of the rural areas, where access to internet services is scarce. That should include the government. For instance, the Board of Investments (BOI) has also vowed to tap the company for its Strategic Investment Priority Plan.

The benefits of LEO systems are significant. These satellites are very close to the ground orbiting at a distance from the planet of 500 to 1,500 kilometres. Such a short distance enables them to communicate faster with very minimal time delay. So if you want to engage in data-intensive communication, these systems are spot on. For example, delay-sensitive services such as voice communication sit atop that list. Other advantages include:

  • Better signal strength
  • Less power is needed to transmit
  • Low latency is ideal for real-time communications
  • Eliminates the need for heavy installation of bulky receivers on the ground
  • Lessert cost for ground equipment

The Philippines is pursuing its digital transformation strategies firmly. To achieve its goals, the nation partnered with experts internationally, recently working with the American government to explore nuclear power for the country. That should put the country at par with the rest of the world in green energy utilisation.

It has also rolled out the CREATE law allowing technopreneurs the leeway to develop and innovate ICT technology. Further, wanting to make the most of emerging tech, FinTech leaders of the country are expressing their desire to have technology and innovation as the centrepiece of the next government with new leaders set to be elected this May, as reported on OpenGov Asia.


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