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Converge to lease fiber lines and earth station to Elon Musk's SpaceX!

SpaceX officially strikes Deal with Converge to lease fiber lines and other ground support equipment.
Converge to lease fiber lines and earth station to Elon Musk's SpaceX!
File photo: Elon Musk' SpaceX

To bring high-speed broadband in far-flung areas in the PH soon?

About a year ago, we had a previous report that Converge ICT has been in discussion with SpaceX for a potential partnership. This possibly means the Philippines may experience broadband satellite services of Elon Musk's Space Exploration Technologies through a local internet provider.

The project Starlink targets to put 12,000 satellites into low Earth orbit, promising to deliver high-speed, low-latency, cheap internet access to anyone who has the proprietary Starlink receiver. Currently, it provides bet services to domestic and international clients, flaunting speeds of 50 megabits per second (Mbps) to 150 Mbps. 

Now, Dennis Anthony Uy confirmed that they were able to close a satellite broadband deal with the American tech billionaire SpaceX.  

In the recent forum organized by the Rotary Club of Makati, the Converge ICT CEO said that they already agreed to ease fiber lines and other ground support equipment. Uy also mentioned,

In fact, in one of the [sites], the backbone and capacity, we are the ones providing it.

However, it's not clear yet if Converge and SpaceX would expand their tie-up beyond the leasing agreement. During his talk, Uy implied that SpaceX has plans to eventually go solo on its Philippine satellite broadband venture.

This is now possible since overseas investments in internet businesses have been permitted after President Duterte issued an executive order lifting foreign ownership caps on select segments. But the Converge CEO added that even foreign companies operating in the Philippines "need to comply with our regulations".

This includes securing the necessary permits from the National Telecommunications Commission to use regulated equipment. Previously, Starlink attempted to provide its services in India but it was blocked due to its lack of necessary licenses to operate in the country.

The cost of satellite internet may also be discouragingly high for the majority of regular internet users. Starlink's entry-level plans start at USD 99 per month and a one-time fee of USD 499 for the antenna and other hardware while local fiber plans start at over USD 30.

Allegedly, Starlink will be released commercially in the Philippines in 2023 or by next year. 

Source: Inquirer

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