Filipinos in geographically-isolated and disadvantaged areas (GIDA) may soon enjoy free high-speed and low-latency internet service brought by SpaceX’s Starlink through the Philippine Department of Information and Communications Technology’s (DICT) ‘BroadBand ng Masa’ program.
DICT may begin the free rollout of Starlink-powered internet hubs by the first quarter of 2023 if the satellite-based internet provider is able to launch by the 4th quarter of 2022.
In a press conference in late July 2022, SpaceX Government Affairs senior manager Rebecca Hunter said Starlink users may enjoy 100 to 200 Megabits per second (Mbps) download speed and around 30 to 40 Mbps upload speed with a latency of 20 milliseconds (ms) — much better than the Philippine average broadband latency of 33 ms based in a study by Statista in July 2022.
The Starlink kit, complete with a satellite dish and router, would cost USD 599 (around PHP 33,000), plus a monthly fee of USD 99 (around PHP 5,500). Since the cost of a Starlink kit and subscription is too expensive for many households in GIDAs, the DICT may place such a network in community-shared spaces such as barangay centers in these areas.
However, Starlink would need to pass the requirements under Republic Act 9184 or The Government Procurement Reform Act before their services can be used as part of a government program.
(Source: Philippine News Agency)