SATELLITE INTERNET SERVICES. From left to right are DTI Secretary Ramon Lopez, DFNN executive chairman Ramon Garcia Jr., SpaceX senior manager for Government Affairs Rebecca Hunter, and SpaceX Market Access director Ryan Goodnight in a meeting on Wednesday (March 30, 2022). SpaceX executives met Lopez as the company registers its satellite internet services in the country. (Photo courtesy of DTI)

MANILA – The Philippines will be the first Southeast Asian nation to use the internet via satellite technology of world’s richest person, Elon Musk, as its company, Space Exploration Technologies Corp. (SpaceX), is currently registering its business in the country.
 
In a Viber message to trade reporters Thursday, Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) Secretary Ramon Lopez said SpaceX is expected to formally put up its operation here in the remaining three months of the Duterte administration.
 
Lopez on Wednesday had a meeting with SpaceX senior manager for Government Affairs Rebecca Hunter and SpaceX Market Access director Ryan Goodnight.
 
“They (SpaceX) noted that the signing of the amended Public Service Act (PSA), which allows up to 100 percent foreign ownership of public services in the country, was a critical factor in the company’s decision to invest, as all its technologies are proprietary,” the DTI said in a statement.
 
The DTI chief said the company is finalizing its initial investments here, but it is already in the process of selecting sites for gateways.
 
SpaceX will provide internet services in the country using its Low Earth Orbit (LEO) satellite network constellation called Starlink, which has over 1,600 satellites as of middle of 2021.
 
“Their system will augment as well as complement existing broadband capacities. This will further capacitate micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs), facilitate online learning, e-commerce and fintech," Lopez said.
 
He added having satellite internet services in the country will help in the development in the rural areas, where access to internet services is scarce.
 
The Board of Investments (BOI) has also vowed to facilitate the application of SpaceX for its registration under the Strategic Investment Priority Plan. (PNA)