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Elon Musk's SpaceX to lease fiber lines from Converge, Starlink eyed for 2023 PH launch

By AYIE LICSI Published Feb 16, 2022 5:20 pm

Dennis Uy's Converge ICT has struck a deal with Elon Musk's SpaceX.

According to an Inquirer report, the Uy's company will lease fiber lines and other ground support equipment to SpaceX for the latter's plans to beam high-speed internet to far-flung and remote areas.

This internet service, called Starlink, was originally set to launch commercially in the Philippines in 2022, but its website states that it will be available in 2023 instead.

Starlink website

The agreement between the companies will pave way for SpaceX to enter the country, but Uy hinted at SpaceX has plans to eventually go solo with its satellite broadband venture.

“I think the direction is they want to go on their own, they don’t want to have to partner with locals," he said. 

SpaceX's arrival in the country will come as the Senate and House passed a reconciled bill lifting foreign ownership in industries such as telecommunications earlier in February.

What is Starlink?

Starlink provides satellite internet promising high speeds and low latency connection via low-orbiting satellites. There's no need to install wires for connectivity so it can potentially bring internet to remote and underserved areas.

SpaceX advertises speeds between 150Mbps to 250Mbps, depending on service tiers. They are more costly, though, compared to fiber services with Starlink plans starting at $99 per month (~P5,000). On top of that, subscribers have to settle a one-time fee of $499 (~P26,000) for antenna and other necessary hardware.

Uy further explained that satellite internet services will not displace current fiber internet in the country. 

"Satellite is used for mobility, areas not reachable by infrastructure," he said.