Senator Grace Poe considers Space X Starlink as the Philippines’ next internet service provider. The senator recognizes that said internet service provider’s services entering the country may benefit Filipinos.
Starlink is a satellite internet constellation being constructed by SpaceX that provides satellite Internet access. Moreover, it aims to put 12,000 satellites into low Earth orbit, which will provide high-speed, low-latency, cheap internet access to anyone with the proprietary Starlink receiver. Elon Musk’s SpaceX is working on making its services more accessible to the public through community WiFi formats. Having said that, the senator mentioned the aim for the country to be associated with a company like SpaceX with an innovative culture.
“It’s an exciting possibility. They are offering satellite technology for connectivity,” Poe mentioned.
The SpaceX Starlink Team and the Office of Senator Grace Poe have recently met virtually to discuss a proposal of satellite technology for internet connectivity. According to the senator, certain issues and concerns need to be addressed, including the possibility of opening up a new player. She emphasizes that more players mean better Internet service.
Poe also remarked that the initial cost of SpaceX would initially be much higher than existing market rates but would become affordable over time. “The cost at this point is quite prohibitive for the regular subscriber. It’s about USD 500 just to set this up, or about PHP 25,000. Having said that, that’s not necessarily a bad thing because there’s probably a niche market that will be able to afford this technology. And we are also looking forward that, in the future, with more subscribers, the cost will go down. Bababa rin kapag marami nang subscribers,” she stated.
However, the senator also recognizes the issues that hinder investors. Poe cited that the ownership provision in the Constitution is discouraging other investors. Though, Poe also stated that their role in the Senate is to upgrade the outdated policies. She also aims to find a solution without overhauling the Constitution, but with the Public Service Act’s passage that will permit foreign ownership in certain industries.
Meanwhile, Poe reiterated her push for her Better Internet bill (Senate Bill No. 1831) that would hold local telco players to higher standards, a cause that would be strengthened by the entry of Starlink as a new competitor.