Thursday, July 18, 2024

DICT seeks more satellite Internet providers as Starlink gets go signal

With Starlink’s local subsidiary formally getting the green light to operate its satellite-based Internet service in the Philippines, the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) said it is opening the gates to more players offering the same service in the country.

Photo shows DICT acting secretary Manny Caintic (center) handling over the permit to an official of Starlink Internet Philippines Inc.
Photo from DICT

The National Telecommunications Commission (NTC), an attached agency of the DICT, granted last week the permit for Starlink Internet Philippines Inc. to start its local operations.   

“The DICT will continue to find ways to make the accreditation process faster, more convenient, and will provide policy support to companies like Starlink,” DICT acting secretary Emmanuel Rey “Manny” R. Caintic during the Satellite Systems Providers and/or Operators (SSPOs) stakeholders’ consultation last May 26 at the Manila Polo Club in Makati City.

The Philippines is set to be the first country in Southeast Asia to avail the services of Starlink broadband service which provides a low-Earth orbit satellite system designed to deliver broadband Internet connectivity with speeds between 100 to 200 Megabits per second (Mbps). The Internet service is ideal in Geographically Isolated and Disadvantaged or GIDA areas where laying fiber cables is difficult.

Starlink claims to have Internet speeds faster than fiber-optic cables as its satellite Internet service provides a constellation of multiple satellites that orbit the earth at about 550 kilometers away which also provides worldwide coverage.

“DICT continues to provide an enabling environment especially for new players such as Starlink. In light with the R.A. 11647 that opens up our gates to more foreign players, SSPO accreditation is an acknowledgement from us that you are allowed to do business in the country,” Caintic said.

“We will foster an enabling environment for our SSPOs and support them with policies that will safeguard them so they can help in accelerating our digital transformation initiatives,” he added.

The DICT said its streamlined initiatives are prescribed and guided by Department Circular No. 001, s. 2022 that rationalizes the registration and regulation of SSPOs to quicken the pace of their participation.

DICT director Elias Omar A. Sana said the DICT will utilize an online submission platform where applicants can conveniently submit their requirements.

Meanwhile, DICT undersecretary Alan A. Silor underscored the importance of satellite connectivity in the country.

“Even if we have good ICT infrastructures, they are vulnerable to natural disasters. This is when the advantages of satellite connectivity are especially realized. Getting bandwidth from satellite providers is also the way to go for GIDA sites where laying fiber cables is difficult,” he said.

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