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Philippines Space Agency Gives Nod to Private Satellite Trial Run

Made up of over 7,000 islands, the Philippines is looking for more efficient ways of internet distribution. Satellite technology could prove to be just the answer. Philippines Space Agency (PhilSA) is aware of these inherent challenges and is tapping satellite technology to do its part.

PhilSA’s INCENTIVISE (Introducing Non-Geostationary Satellite Constellations Test Deployments to Improve Internet Service) project allows private satellite companies to test solutions. Currently, the agency has approved a global communications network’s proposal to test the high throughput and low latency capability of their satellite broadband constellation, on a temporary and non-commercial basis.

INCENTIVISE project is an open call to Non-Geostationary Orbit (NGSO) Satellite Internet Operators (SIOs) to conduct test deployments in the Philippines, ahead of a possible full commercial service. This would allow the performance and viability of their new and advanced technologies to be demonstrated, experienced, and assessed ahead of planned or scheduled commercial service.

For its part, the just-allowed global communications firm now has over 390 Low Earth Orbit (LEO) satellites. PhilSA said they are now discussing with the company’s executives details such as technical documentary requirements and logistics and test deployments, as well as the timeline and proposed implementation sites.

Entry and deployment of satellite user terminals and/or gateway equipment to allow access to LEO and MEO (Medium Earth Orbit) satellites to establish broadband internet connection will be facilitated under the INCENTIVISE project.

PhilSA has yet to announce the target start of the test, as well as the estimated number of rural areas that will benefit from the project. Earlier, PhilSA Space Business Development Division Chief Agnes Bonafe said that compared to fibre connectivity, satellite broadband exhibits a wide coverage, allowing connectivity to reach the rural areas.

Moreover, PhilSA Director Joel Marciano Jr. said INCENTIVISE is expected to expand market entry and access to additional internet players that can help bridge the country’s digital divide. INCENTIVISE is being co-implemented with the Department of Science and Technology – Advanced Science and Technology Institute.

The internet has become synonymous with progress over time and the United Nations declared that having access is a human right. However, there’s a monumental challenge to connectivity, especially in remote places. Satellites can be the answer to this.

A big advantage of satellite technology is global coverage. Internet could find its way to any part of the planet without the need for wires to physically connect a user to the internet provider. Plus, there’s the aspect of cost. Traditional terrestrial internet means laying miles upon miles of fibre. Not only does that require manual labour, but also it’s going to come at a high cost.

The Philippines is ramping up its space technology. It is keenly aware of the tremendous advantages that space tech offers. Recently, Manila has transferred all space assets that belong to the government to PhilSA. It’s a strong move to consolidate its forces.

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