Astranis, an American space-based internet start-up, has signed a new deal to launch and operate a dedicated satellite for the Philippines which will provide enough bandwidth to connect up to 2 million people. The company is partnering with satellite services provider Orbits Corp, which will buy the capacity with its sister company, HTechCorp, a Philippine internet service provider (ISP). This deal marks the country’s first dedicated satellite internet.
“There are over 20 typhoons in the Philippines every year, and given the archipelago’s position in the Ring of Fire, other natural disasters often test the resolve of Filipinos, whether they live in Metro Manila or a rural community. Fiber lines flood; microwave towers fall over; and often the entire country is left to rely on satellite internet services to remain connected and safe,” said John Gedmark, Astranis CEO.
Astranis’ orbital internet will provide reliable internet to disaster-prone areas. Filipinos spend roughly 10 hours online, but most rely on fiber internet, which relies on microwave towers and cables susceptible to floods and earthquakes. As a result, only 11,000 of the country’s 42,000 barangays (local communities) have coverage. The Philippine government identifies these areas as Geographically Isolated and Disadvantaged Areas (GIDA).
(Sources: SpaceWatch.GLOBAL; Philippine Daily Inquirer)