Elon Musk’s Starlink in talks to bring fast Internet to PHL


Elon Musk’s Starlink is in talks with two Philippine telcos to launch its ultrafast satellite Internet in a country with slow speeds and poor connectivity. 

Transpacific Broadband Group International Inc. said it’s looking to partner with Starlink for its satellite broadband venture, planning to roll out the technology by 2022. It signed an agreement with operator ABS Global Ltd. for a low-earth orbit satellite station in Pampanga province, north of the capital, according to a news statement issued on Thursday.

Low-earth orbit satellite technology offers a combination of affordability, speed, flexibility, ease-of-setup and a 27-millisecond low-latency bandwidth, it said in a stock exchange filing.

The Philippines ranks 72nd in the world for mobile Internet speed and 64th in terms of fixed broadband, according to the Speedtest Global Index.

Starlink, a unit of Musk’s SpaceX, has deployed more than 1,700 satellites in low-earth orbit, a number that could eventually top 30,000 if it receives the necessary regulatory approvals and market demand warrants. 

Meanwhile, fiber-optic broadband operator Converge ICT Solutions Inc. is talking to several satellite providers including SpaceX to complement its network, CEO Dennis Anthony Uy said. 

“We would like to utilize low-orbit satellite technology to bridge the gap in areas that are unreachable with fiber-optic cables so that we can provide quality broadband connectivity to the majority of our people,” Uy said. Converge in March said it sees room for growth by targeting the 90 percent of the Southeast Asian nation’s 110 million population that is still without high-speed Internet.

Transpacific Broadband shares gained 5.6 percent in morning trade in Manila, building on Thursday’s 5.9 percent rally. Converge was down 2.6 percent.

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