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Starlink PHL operation moved to middle of 2023

STARLINK Internet Services Philippines, Inc. of Elon Musk’s Space Exploration Technologies Corp. (SpaceX) is expected to start serving remote communities in the Philippines by the middle of 2023, the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) said.

“Starlink will be operational here in the Philippines by middle of next year,” DICT Assistant Secretary Philip A. Varilla said at the Economic Journalists Association of the Philippines Economic Forum 2022 on Monday.

In July, Starlink said its broadband service would be commercially available in the Philippines by December.

According to Mr. Varilla, the reason for the delay is the number of satellites that Starlink is working on.

“They need to launch [more than] 4,400 satellites,” he said. “It’s really difficult to launch so many satellites.”

“But they’re saying that they can complete it and service the Philippines by that time,” the official added.

The Philippines is set to be the first country in Southeast Asia to experience Starlink’s service.

The company’s broadband service uses a low-Earth orbit satellite system designed to deliver broadband internet connectivity with speeds of 100 to 200 Megabits per second to isolated and disadvantaged areas where laying fiber cables is difficult. Major telecommunications service providers regard such areas as commercially unviable because of the significant investment needed to put up infrastructure.

With Starlink’s broadband service, it will be cheaper to provide connectivity to unserved and underserved areas such as mountains, islands, and remote villages, according to the DICT.

The Starlink kit will be offered for $599, while the monthly service will be $99, SpaceX Government Affairs Senior Manager Rebecca Hunter said during a briefing in July.

DICT Secretary Ivan John E. Uy has said people in remote areas, especially farmers and fisherfolk, may not be able to afford such amounts, so the DICT, in partnership with local government units, will initially cover the cost of providing Starlink service. — Arjay L. Balinbin

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