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All systems go for Starlink in Philippines

The Philippines will be the first country in Southeast Asia to offer Starlink broadband service. (Source: Panther Media GmbH/Alamy Stock Photo)

News Analysis | KEN WIELAND, contributing editor


It didn’t take long. Only half an hour after completing all the necessary paperwork, SpaceX company Starlink – as reported by the Philippines News Agency – was awarded a VAS license by the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC).

It means the LEO satellite broadband provider, which is part of the Elon Musk empire, can offer Internet access across the entire country.

NTC, it seems, wants to see this happen sooner rather than later. It pointedly noted that Starlink will have “direct access” to ground facilities that are needed to get the service up and running as soon as possible.

“The NTC is steadfast in helping ensure that roll-out of Starlink’s internet access services will be done expeditiously and professionally,” said NTC Commissioner Gamaliel Cordoba in a statement.

First in the queue

The Philippines, claimed NTC, will be the first country in Southeast Asia to offer the Starlink broadband service, which promises to be much better than the higher latency and lower speed fare offered by “regular” satellite Internet.

“Starlink is expected to cover villages in urban and suburban areas and rural areas that remain unserved or underserved with internet access services,” added Cordoba.

“The service is expected to bring cost-effective internet access in these areas.”

Lawyer Bienvenido Marquez from local law firm Quisumbing Torres, and acting as SpaceX counsel, thanked NTC for its “prompt action” in awarding the VAS license.

“This shows the government’s seriousness in addressing the connectivity needs of our country in unserved and underserved areas,” he said.

“This will also prepare us in the event of natural disasters and calamities.”

Share price thrust for partners

Local companies associated with Starlink as potential partners got a share-price boost following news of the VAS license award.

Shares in Transpacific Broadband Group International, as reported by Bloomberg, jumped by as much as 15.3%.

IT solutions provider DFNN, whose chairman reportedly met recently with SpaceX executives, climbed 12.6%.

Converge ICT Solutions, which has apparently signed a deal with SpaceX to lease infrastructure, rose 3.3%.