PH startup makes bold bid to provide satellite-based Internet to remote areas

With around a quarter of the Philippine population still yet to experience internet connectivity, local tech startup Quicksilver Satcom Ventures — funded by social impact venture capital fund Ignite Impact Fund — is seeking to increase Internet penetration in far-flung and underserved areas in the country through the use of satellite technology.

Photo shows Quicksilver director Vinci Roxas (left) and Ignite co-founder Maoi Arroyo

Endorsed by the Philippine national government as a satellite provider, Quicksilver styles itself as a “boutique connectivity firm” that utilizes various connectivity solutions depending on what a certain geographical area requires.

“One of the key essential infrastructure components or any sort of economic development or investment management outside urban areas has to do with connectivity, which is why we started Quicksilver years ago,” said Vinci Roxas, director at Quicksilver.

Quicksilver said establishing basic connectivity in far-flung rural areas, which is especially challenging due to the Philippines’ archipelagic nature, is a major step in providing underserved communities more advanced necessities.

The startup said it wants to work with local governments as well as private clients to set up service areas, and then help leverage Internet connectivity into greater economic development.

“Once you set up connectivity, you can do online banking, microfinance, and e-commerce,” said Roxas. “The local businesses can connect to the local economy, and then you can do things like imports and exports. It’s connectivity as an enabler for economic development.”

One such example of an early Quicksilver installation is the establishment of Internet services in a microfinance company’s school in San Pablo, Laguna. The school managed to have consistent Internet that helped them digitize operations, power remote online learning sessions, and remote consultations for clinics.

Quicksilver’s potential economic benefit attracted Ignite to it as its goals were in line with the venture capital fund’s own social impact targets of eliminating extreme poverty in the Philippines.

“Well into the 21st century, the world has recognized a good internet connection as a basic human right. Quicksilver’s goals of providing not only free and accessible, but also consistent and reliable Internet connectivity goes a long way toward alleviating poverty among the poorest of Filipinos,” said Maoi Arroyo, Ignite co-founder.

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