SpaceX's Starlink satellite system is in the talks to launch in the Philippines - a country considered to have one of the worst internet connections across the globe.
The talks come as SpaceX CEO Elon Musk continues to launch satellites in space as part of SpaceX's vision to deliver low-latency, nearly instantaneous internet to every inch of the world.
SpaceX's Starlink Ambitious Plan
Musk had always been vocal with his outrageous ambitions in all of his ventures, and SpaceX's Starlink plan is no exception.
On Mar. 5, Business Insider revisited the tech CEO's plan to launch 42,000 satellites over the next few decades for the Starlink constellation.
This is 15 times the number of operational satellites orbiting our planet as of this writing.
To put this plan into action, SpaceX has been continuously launching satellites in batches of 60 using the company's trusty Falcon 9 rocket.
The latest launch happened on Mar. 14, which not only brought the number of active Starlink satellites up to 1,100, the Falcon 9 rocket also broke its own record for orbital-class rocket reuse.
"Today's Starlink launch is particularly special as this is the first time that we are flying a Falcon 9 rocket for the ninth flight," Kate Tice, senior certification engineer at SpaceX, said according to The Independent's March 15 report.
SpaceX's Starlink coverage is currently limited to the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada, New Zealand, and Germany, but Musk assures that the coverage would extend to "most of Earth by end of year."
What is in it for the Philippines?
Given the country's notorious internet speed situation, it would be a huge step for the Philippines should the Starlink launch push through.
As of February 2021, the Speedtest Global Index ranked the Southeast Asian country 83rd for mobile internet speeds and 92nd for fixed broadband.
These figures are downright ironic for the country, as a December 2020 report from Statista reveals that the Philippines ranks high as the most social-media active in the world.
To put it in numbers, Statista reports that about 76.2 million Filipinos spend at least four hours using social media apps such as Facebook and Instagram.
The country's average download speeds currently sit between 26 Mbps and 38 Mbps and could shoot up to 50 Mbps to 150 Mbps should the Starlink launch proceed.
These numbers could go even higher, as the SpaceX CEO promised to double Starlink's internet speed "later this year."
Speed will double to ~300Mb/s & latency will drop to ~20ms later this year— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) February 22, 2021
The move could also prove the advantages of utilizing satellite-based internet versus its land-based counterpart.
Part of the reason why the Philippines suffers from dragging internet access is its geography, with over 7,000 islands across the country, of which some remain extremely remote until today.
SpaceX is working with Philippine internet service provider Converge Information and Communications Technology (ICT) Solutions to get the plan off the ground.
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Written by Lee Mercado