Manila residents may soon enjoy fast internet access through the low orbit satellite internet service of Starlink, owned by SpaceX billionaire Elon Musk.

Manila mayor and Aksyon Demokratiko presidential bet Isko Moreno had a meeting with Rebecca Hunter, SpaceX senior manager for government affairs, and Raymond Garcia, SpaceX partner-representative for the Philippines and other Asian countries at the Manila City Hall.

“Maraming salamat na binigyan nila ng pagkakataon yung Maynila, mukhang mag-uumpisa na (I thank them that they gave Manila the opportunity, I think it will start soon). I’m very excited that Starlink is coming to Manila,” Moreno said.

This was the first meeting of Starlink representatives in the country.

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“And the good news is that this will be the first in Southeast Asia,” the mayor said.

Space Exploration Technologies Corp. or SpaceX is an American aerospace manufacturer that has launched more than 1,700 Starlink satellites in space.

It was founded by American billionaire Elon Musk.

While most of the current satellite internet services come from single geostationary satellites that orbit the planet at about 35,000 kilometers, Starlink is a constellation of multiple satellites that orbit the planet much closer to Earth, at about 550 km. and cover the entire globe.

“I am expecting Starlink to be operational in Manila in the next few months.”

Moreno said he is expecting Starlink to be operational in Manila in the next few months.

Currently, he said SpaceX should first comply with the regulatory agencies of the national government such as the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) and the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC).

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However, Moreno assured that the city of Manila is ready for Starlink anytime.

“Iniintay lang namin yung mga regulatory agencies to process yung sa side ng Starlinks SpaceX after that, Manila can deploy about 896 dishes for 896 barangays para maging available ito sa (We are just waiting for the regulatory agencies to process on the side of Starlink SpaceX. After that, Manila can deploy about 896 dishes to make it available for the city’s 896) barangays,” he explained.

“Manila is intending to buy Starlink service for the city’s 104 public elementary and high schools.”

Moreno said Manila is intending to buy Starlink service for the city’s 104 public elementary and high schools, two public universities, the Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Maynila, the Universidad de Manila, its seven district hospitals, about 15 police stations and its headquarter, and the Manila City Hall and its satellite offices in the city.

If the plan pushes through, he said next is for the university belt areas of the city.

”This Starlink low orbit satellite can provide 110 Mbps for residential families, then it can, for enterprises, it can give up to 500 Mbps speed of bandwidth,” Moreno said.

In terms of cost, he believes that SpaceX Starlink is cheaper and faster to deploy.

“Fiber optics can take years, but with this, pag nag deploy ako ngayong oras na to, ngayong oras na to me internet ka na (if I deploy it at this time, you will have internet access at the very same time),” Moreno said.

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He said there is no need to build infrastructures like communication towers as Starlink only needs a gateway that can cover a huge area.

“I was told initially three that can cover great area, eh six ang itatayo nila to cover the entire Philippines so mabilis to tapos yung hinahanap na lote 60 square meters lang (they will put up six to cover the entire Philippines so this is faster, then they only need a 60 square meter lot area),” Moreno said.

With Starlink’s low orbit satellite, he said even far-flung and remote areas can have reliable internet access.

Moreno did not specify the exact amount of the deal they have with SpaceX but he said each dish needed to connect to the satellite costs $500 each.

He said Starlink could be the country’s future in internet connection that will benefit not only the ordinary citizens but will also help push the country’s economy by empowering small businesses, freelancers.

It may even be helpful in times of natural disasters where communications normally become a problem, Moreno added.

The national government has also scheduled a meeting with SpaceX representatives in the hope of making the Philippines the first country in the Asean region to avail of Elon Musk’s Starlink low-orbit satellite.


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