Space Exploration Technologies Corp. (SpaceX), owned by billionaire Elon Musk, is expanding into the Philippines by providing satellite broadband service to businesses and the government, according to a local partner’s announcement on Thursday.
Tycoon Henry Sy Jr. owns a portion of the Philippine company Data Lake Inc., which recently announced it has agreed to become Starlink’s first Southeast Asian partner.
More than 7,600 islands make up the Philippines, many of which are remote and have steep terrain, making it challenging for businesses to provide broadband service. Additionally, about 20 tropical storms commonly strike the nation each year, often causing infrastructural damage and severing communication lines between provinces and islands.
When communications go down due to a natural disaster or in remote areas, SpaceX’s Starlink deploys a network of thousands of satellites to provide internet connectivity.
According to World Bank data, only seven out of every 100 individuals in the Philippines have fixed broadband subscriptions, placing them below comparable countries in the area like Singapore, Malaysia, and Thailand.
This month, the Philippine Ministry of Information and Communications Technology announced that Starlink would enter the Philippine market in 2023.