Which Areas in the Country Will be the First to Get Satellite Internet?

The government will start choosing communities that will benefit from satellite internet.

Procurement for satellite internet services to provide connectivity to far-flung and isolated areas in the country will commence in the first quarter of 2023, the Department of Information and Communications Technology said on Wednesday (July 27). 

DICT) Secretary Ivan John Uy said the agency is now preparing the terms of reference for the auction for satellite internet services, including billionaire Elon Musk’s Starlink.


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“We have to go through procurement process,” Uy said. “We cannot start with the procurement process unless we have proposals sent out in terms of reference and so on. We are preparing those, but in the meantime, they need to get their earth stations and equipment and their operations running.” 

But the preparation stage includes identifying exactly which communities will benefit from the project. These are areas that are considered “geographically isolated and disadvantaged,” based on data from the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG). 

“We very well know that those areas, because of their remoteness and because they are on the sadder end of the digital divide, they cannot afford technology such as this,” Uy said. “The government will have to come in. We do have funds in order to deploy this free WiFi program. And we will work with the local governments on how we can, not only set up the equipment, set up the connectivity and provide the linkage, but look at how these could be sustainable.”


Although Uy did not disclose how much the remaining budget for the year is, the DICT will ask Congress to allot a specific budget for this project, which will be placed under the Broadband ng Masa Program. 

The budget needs to be an “integrated package” as the government is looking to provide the connectivity service in areas that also don’t have electricity. 

“What will happen is we will provide and shoulder the community until such time that the DSWD can give feedback that those communities have already grown out of poverty,” Uy said. The secretary noted that indicators include “increased economic activity such as e-commerce, communication, and other online services.” 

The government will run the free satellite internet program for about “a year or two,” after which it would “cut the umbilical cord” after signs of progress.

Budget will depend on how much legislators are willing to provide, Uy said.

“We are optimistic because we are more proactive than we have been,” he said. “We anticipate this technology so I am already preparing all the documentations and requirements as of now so it will be ready to launch. Elon Musk is very fast in sending these satellites up there and very fast in deploying those things down here.” 

A Starlink Kit costs about $599 (about P33,300) for installation and $99 (P5,500) per month for the connectivity services.  

SpaceX Senior Manager Rebecca Hunter, the local representative of Starlink, said the group intends to start commercial operations by the last quarter of 2022. 

“We really can make a lot of positive changes, positive impact in the Philippines,” she said. 

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