Sen. Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III has revealed that he met online with the representative of Elon Musk’s aerospace firm SpaceX to discuss the possible inclusion of the Philippines in the company’s ambitious Starlink satellite broadband project.
Formally launched in October last year, Starlink is a satellite Internet constellation being constructed by SpaceX providing satellite Internet access. The constellation will consist of thousands of mass-produced small satellites in low Earth orbit, working in combination with ground transceivers.
During the virtual meeting last December 28, 2020, Pimentel said SpaceX vice president for satellite government affairs Patricia Cooper mentioned the possibility of Starlink covering the Philippines by the third quarter of 2021.
“In light of the Covid-19 pandemic, the Philippines will immensely benefit from Starlink’s high-speed and low-latency Internet which can make possible effective contact tracing and quarantine monitoring, improved and accessible government services, enhanced security, online education and remote learning, emergency and disaster preparedness,” said Pimentel.
Pimentel noted that Cooper assured his team that Starlink will be a valuable added platform to connect many Philippine communities, businesses, and consumers with high-speed, reliable broadband.
“This initiatory engagement with SpaceX is both timely and encouraging. The pandemic has taught us that ‘connectivity is life’. This is why I believe coverage by the Starlink is very important for the Philippines given that we are a nation of more than 7,600 islands with a substantial number of its citizens living and working outside of the country. Our citizens want and need to be in touch with one another through efficient and affordable means,” said Pimentel.
During the meeting, constitutional and other legal requirements in terms of protection and the ability of the Philippine government to engage with SpaceX were also discussed.