The main goal of Starlink and other low-orbit satellite internet providers is to bring connectivity to far-flung and hard-to-reach areas. The DICT wants to take advantage of that technology by using such tech for its BroadBand ng Masa program.
With the DICT BroadBand ng Masa program, the ICT department aims to bring free high-speed and low-latency internet services to geographically-isolated and disadvantaged areas in the Philippines using SpaceX’s Starlink internet service.
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As per DICT Secretary Ivan John Uy, their goal is to start the free rollout of the Starlink-enabled internet hubs in Q1 of 2023. Just months after the expected Philippine launch of Starlink in Q4 of 2022.
If the funding for the project doesn’t make it to the 2023 budget, they will use the leftover money from the last admin’s “Free WiFi program” instead.
During the same press conference, SpaceX exec Rebecca Hunter said that Starlink can provide users up to 200Mbps of download and 40Mbps of upload speeds with 20-millisecond latency. That’s much better than what the traditional broadband service that other ISPs offer.
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Using a Starlink service in remote areas makes a lot of sense. All you need is the starter kit that includes the satellite dish and router. No need to route fiber cables, which takes a lot of time and money.
It’s quite economical too, especially for public use. The starter kit costs USD599, or around Php33,000 when directly converted, and comes with a monthly fee of USD99 or around Php5,500.
“We will provide the connectivity for them. Until such time that the local government or the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) can give feedback that we have raised them up. We’ll keep an eye and over a year or two and once they can afford it, maybe the government can then cut the umbilical cord,” Uy said.
The DICT chief said that Starlink will still have to pass an “obstacle course” that is to pass the requirements as stipulated by the Republic Act no. 9184 or The Government Procurement Freedom Act.