The Marcos administration intends to use Elon Musk’s Starlink satellite communications network to enhance internet connectivity in the Visayas and Mindanao.
Ivan John Uy, the secretary for information and communications, stated on Monday that Starlink is the best option for such an upgrade because it makes use of low-orbit satellites.
“The scope of coverage is far greater and can reach areas that can’t be reached or are hard to reach,” Uy said in a press briefing.
He claimed that “missionary routes” or locations with few users are typically difficult for telecommunications companies, or telcos, to establish.
For such a project, he said, a network of low-orbit satellites, like Starlink’s, is suitable.
Starlink already provides satellite internet access coverage to 33 countries.
“So far, the coverages are [in] the northern part of the Philippines and not much in the southern part where we badly need satellite connectivity. That is why a new satellite might be launched that would cover central Philippines,” Uy said.
The project is expected to be completed by the end of the year, however he did not specify whether the government or a private company will handle it.
Uy claimed that he is now analyzing the agency’s projects since there are several issues that must be resolved first.
One of them is enhancing or revitalizing the free public WiFi.
“We are studying it; we have to sit down and work on it. There are many and different issues that need to be resolved first,” he said.
The free WiFi initiative has encountered difficulties, such as nonpayment of connectivity fees, hardware problems, and contractor problems.
Uy promised that the DICT “will continue to make the free public WiFi more effective.”