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Elon Musk’s Starlink Gets Approval to Operate in Philippines

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The Philippines has approved the registration of Starlink, a satellite internet services company operated by SpaceX, making it the first Southeast Asian country to have Starlink broadband access.

The National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) approved Starlink as a “value-added service (VAS) provider” on Thursday, allowing the company to access satellite systems, and build and operate broadband facilities.

SpaceX counsel, lawyer Bien Marquez of Quinsumbing Torres, thanked NTC for issuing Starlink’s VAS provider license 30 minutes after the application was submitted, the state-owned Philippine news agency reported.

“This shows the government’s seriousness in addressing the connectivity needs of our countrymen in unserved and underserved areas. This will also prepare us in the event of natural disasters and calamities,” Marquez said.

Starlink is a subsidiary of SpaceX, the U.S.-based aerospace manufacturer and space exploration company founded by Elon Musk. It has more than 1,500 low-orbit satellites designed to bring broadband services to remote areas.

NTC said that the swift processing of Starlink’s VAS provider registration “was meant to expedite the service’s immediate roll-out.”

“The NTC is steadfast in helping ensure that roll-out of Starlink’s internet access services will be done expeditiously and professionally,” NTC’s commissioner Gamaliel Cordoba said.

According to local reports, Starlink would offer the Philippines low-latency satellite internet access ranging from 100 to 200 megabits per second. The company is expected to start operations before President Rodrigo Duterte’s term ends in June.

“Starlink is expected to cover villages in urban and suburban areas and rural areas that remain unserved or underserved with internet access services. The service is expected to bring cost-effective internet access in these areas,” Cordoba said.

Philippine Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez said in March that Starlink was in the process of establishing a wholly-owned Philippine subsidiary and planned to deploy three gateways in the first phase of their launch.

Musk announced in a tweet on Friday that Starlink has gotten regulatory approvals in Nigeria and Mozambique, which would be the first countries in Africa with Starlink internet access.

The company has been in discussion with the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) since May last year to bring the satellite internet services to Nigeria.

NCC confirmed that it has granted Starlink two licenses, including an International Gateway license and an Internet Service Provider license, each with a 10-year and a five-year tenure, according to a Nigerian news agency Nairametrics.

“Both licenses take effect from May 2022 and may be renewed after the expiration,” NCC stated, adding that the company will be trading as Starlink Internet Services Nigeria Ltd.

SpaceX said on May 13 that Starlink internet service was now available in 32 nations where it had been licensed, including most western European nations, the United States,  Canada, and New Zealand.

Aldgra Fredly

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Aldgra Fredly is a freelance writer based in Malaysia, covering Asia Pacific news for The Epoch Times.



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