As the Philippines advances in the digitalization era, more businesses are looking to offer satellite-enabled internet services in response to Elon Musk’s Starlink’s entry into the market.
SES, a Luxembourg-based provider of connectivity solutions, will increase its coverage of the Philippines with the launch of six of its eleven O3b mPower satellites this year. By 2023, according to Rob Marabut, director of SES’ business development network, the company hopes to provide Filipinos with this internet service.
According to Marabut, the satellites could “support massive increase in the 4G and 5G mobile deployments in remote areas” and provide internet service nationwide at a speed of 1 gigabyte per second.
“Our access to internet is much quicker. And also when you are using a mobile phone on a satellite network, the quality is also much better,” he said.
Marabut stated that SES was considering collaborating with regional operators and service providers to assist them in meeting regulatory requirements.
In a statement on Wednesday, local technology startup Quicksilver Satcom Ventures also expressed interest in using satellite technology to increase internet penetration in underserved segments.
While satellite internet might help with common issues with fiber or wire-based services, cost might be a problem.
Ignite Impact Fund-funded Quicksilver aims to work with local government agencies and private clients to create service areas and promote economic development.
“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,” added Maoi Arroyo, Ignite cofounder.
During a briefing on Wednesday, Jose del Rosario, the research director of satellite and space consultancy Northern Sky Research, said that satellites could close the digital divide because they could access remote areas that current infrastructures could not.
“What the pandemic has done is that it enabled us to reach a level of usage that goes beyond 2019 levels and … it [is still showing a] growth trajectory,” he said.