Tycoon Backs Musk’s Satellite Internet Service in Philippines


Billionaire Elon Musk’s satellite internet service will be launched in the Philippines soon, according to a local company which said on Thursday it has signed a deal to be a local partner with Space Exploration Technologies Corp (SpaceX).

Data Lake Inc, a Philippine-based firm partly owned by tycoon Henry Sy Jr, said it signed a deal to be the first partner of SpaceX’s Starlink in Southeast Asia.

The announcement that the Starlink satellite broadband service will be offered to businesses and the government is no surprise given the geography and climate of the Philippines.

“The Philippines is an archipelago, and connecting our country to the wider world often requires extensive infrastructure,” Data Lake chairman Anthony Almeda said in a statement.

The Philippines is made up of more than 7,600 islands, many of them isolated and with mountainous terrain, making broadband coverage difficult for companies.

Around 20 tropical storms also typically hit the country every year, often damaging infrastructure and cutting communication links between islands and provinces.

SpaceX’s Starlink uses a network of thousands of satellites to provide internet access to far-flung regions or when communications are disrupted during natural disasters.

In the Philippines, only seven out of every 100 people have fixed broadband subscriptions, lagging behind regional peers like Singapore, Malaysia and Thailand, data from the World Bank show.

Earlier this month, the Philipppines’ information and communications technology ministry said the entry of Starlink in the Philippine market was scheduled for 2023.


  • Reuters with additional editing by Jim Pollard




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Jim Pollard

Jim Pollard is an Australian journalist based in Thailand since 1999. He worked for News Ltd papers in Sydney, Perth, London and Melbourne before travelling through SE Asia in the late 90s. He was a senior editor at The Nation for 17+ years.

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