PH Set to Be First SEA Country to Have Musk’s Starlink Broadband Service

And How PSA Amendment Paved the Way for This Game Changer

Image Credits: Elon Musk (representational photo via; Grace Poe (Office of Senator Grace Poe); President Rodrigo Duterte (Noel Celis/AFP via GETTY Images)

MANILA, Philippines – The National Telecommunication Commission (NTC) has approved Starlink’s regulation as a value-added service (VAS) provider on May 26, with the company’s certificate of registration being valid until April 14, 2023.

With this, Starlink, a subsidiary of Elon Musk’s SpaceX, is authorized to “directly access satellite systems, build, and operate broadband facilities to offer internet services” across the Philippine archipelago.

Starlink’s VAS registration was completed within 30 minutes, after the company submitted their application together with the full requirements.

SpaceX counsel Bien Marquez expressed his gratitude for NTC’s swift action as it “shows the government’s seriousness in addressing the connectivity needs of our countrymen in unserved and underserved areas.”

“This will also prepare us in the event of natural disasters and calamities,” Marquez added.

According to NTC, Starlink is expected to cover villages in urban and suburban areas, and rural areas that remain unserved or underserved with internet access services, with cost effective internet.

Starlink’s official website states that its satellite technology offers high-speed, low latency broadband internet across the globe, and that users can expect download speeds of 100Mb/s to 200Mb/s, and latency as low as 20ms in most of its locations.

Starlink’s official entry in the Philippines makes the country the first in Southeast Asia to test the company’s low-Earth orbit satellite technology.

This would not have been possible without the recent amendment of the 85-year-old Public Service Act, signed by President Rodrigo Duterte last March 21, 2022, allowing full foreign ownership of the following industries in the country:

  • Telecommunications
  • Airlines
  • Expressways and Tollways
  • Railways
  • Shipping

Before this ratification, the mentioned sectors only permitted a maximum of 40 percent foreign ownership.

Earlier this year, Sen. Grace Poe, who sponsored the bill in the Senate as chairman of the Senate public services committee, said: “By easing the foreign equity restrictions in such industries, we are confident that our economy, which is lagging even behind our ASEAN neighbors, will thrive and grow, and that more jobs will be created for our kababayans.”

Minority Leader Franklin Drilon and Majority Leader Juan Miguel Zubiri have commended this move by Sen. Poe, saying that this opens up the economy for healthy competition, which will ultimately improve the people’s welfare.

Along with pushing for the loosening of restrictions on certain industries, Poe assured that the country will not be taken advantage of by foreign investors.

“Adequate safeguards and security provisions are in place, including giving authority to the President to suspend or prohibit any proposed merger or acquisition transaction, or any investment in a public service that will grant control to a foreigner or a foreign corporation,” she said.

Upon signing RA No. 11659 this year, Duterte said he believes this law, with the easing of foreign equity restrictions, “will attract more global investors, modernize several sectors of public service, and improve the delivery of essential services.”

“It is also expected to generate more jobs for Filipinos, improve basic services for Filipino consumers, and allow for the exchange of skills and technology with the country’s foreign partners,” the President added.

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