Starlink up and running

Elijah Felice Rosales - The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines — The internet-from-space business owned by one of the world’s richest men, Elon Musk, yesterday announced that its connectivity services are now available in the Philippines.

SpaceX tweeted that Starlink’s services may now be purchased in the country, allowing Filipinos to subscribe to broadband connectivity that promises up to 200 Mbps in download speed with just 20 ms in latency.

Upon accessing Starlink’s website, users will be directed to a map of the world where Starlink’s low earth orbit (LEO) satellites can beam internet into. The Philippines is lit with a blue light, meaning users here can order a Starlink dish and avail of its connectivity services.

The Philippines thus became the first country in Southeast Asia to host Starlink’s services. Around Asia, Starlink is only available in Japan and the Philippines, as it waits for regulatory approval to launch across multiple countries in Central Asia, East Asia, Middle East, South Asia and Southeast Asia.

The Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT), however, has yet to issue an official statement on the availability of Starlink services in the Philippines.

DICT Undersecretary Anna Mae Lamentillo said the agency would host a formal event with Starlink soon to inaugurate its first earth station in the Philippines.

The Philippine government itself wants to tap Starlink as the broadband provider for Filipinos living in remote areas where local telcos find difficulty putting up their terrestrial infrastructure.

With Starlink’s entry, Filipinos may now buy its satellite equipment at $599 per unit and connectivity service at $99 monthly. Starlink promises an internet speed of 200 Mbps that can be accessed by users even in far-flung areas where signal is usually erratic.

SpaceX, the operator of Starlink, launches LEO satellites into space to beam internet to the surface. In the Philippines, Starlink is retailed by Data Lake Inc., a data firm owned by billionaire Henry Sy Jr.

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