MANILA – The National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) on Friday approved the registration of Starlink Internet Services Philippines Inc. (Starlink) -- a subsidiary of Elon Musk’s SpaceX --allowing the satellite internet provider to begin offering its services in the country.

In a statement, NTC Commissioner Gamaliel Cordoba said Starlink has been approved as a value-added service (VAS) provider, allowing direct access to satellite systems, and the construction and operation of broadband facilities.

“The NTC is steadfast in helping ensure that roll-out of Starlink’s internet access services will be done expeditiously and professionally,” Cordoba said.

Starlink, a low-Earth orbit satellite system designed to bring broadband services to remote areas, is expected to offer low latency satellite internet in the country between 100 Megabits per second (Mbps) to 200 Mbps.

The Philippines is set to be the first country in Southeast Asia to have Starlink broadband service -- allowing Filipinos in remote areas to enjoy low latency internet services such as video calls, online gaming, streaming, and other “high data” activities that were previously difficult with regular satellite internet.

“Starlink is expected to cover villages in urban and suburban areas and rural areas that remain unserved or underserved with internet access services. The service is expected to bring cost-effective internet access in these areas,” Cordoba said.

SpaceX counsel, lawyer Bien Marquez from the law firm Quisumbing Torres, thanked the NTC for its “prompt action,” noting that Starlink’s VAS license was issued 30 minutes after their submission of registration and complete requirements.

“This shows the government’s seriousness in addressing the connectivity needs of our country in unserved and underserved areas. This will also prepare us in the event of natural disasters and calamities,” Marquez said.

In May, Department of Trade and Industry Secretary Ramon Lopez said Starlink is expected to jumpstart its operations before the end of President Rodrigo Duterte’s term in June. (PNA)