On Thursday (March 31), the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) announced that they’re already preparing for the entrance of billionaire Elon Musk’s Space Exploration Technologies Corp. (SpaceX), which aims to provide new internet service for the country. 

The department said the Philippines will become the first in Southeast Asia to experience SpaceX’s Low Earth Orbit (LEO) satellite internet constellation called Starlink, which aims to “provide high-speed, low-latency broadband internet across the globe.”

“The constellation consists of over 1,600 satellites in mid-2021, and will eventually comprise thousands more of mass-produced small satellites in LEO, which communicate with designated ground transceivers,” DTI said in a statement.

According to DTI, preparations are now underway for SPACEX’s registration in the country. In fact, Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez already met with SpaceX Senior Executives Rebecca Hunter and Ryan Goodnight, as well as National Telecommunications Commission Deputy Commissioner Edgardo Cabarios and DFNN executive chairman Ramon Garcia Jr to discuss the matter in detail. 

“At present, their application is being processed and the locations of their gateways are being visited,” the government organization explained. 

Lopez said SpaceX is now in the process of “establishing a local Filipino entity that will be their wholly-owned subsidiary and is targeting to deploy three gateways in the first phase of their launch.”

Once activated, the company’s technology will improve internet connectivity and speed in the country, especially in remote areas. 

“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 stated.

DTI said SpaceX was optimistic about the country’s growing consumer base. However, what sealed their decision to enter the local market was the signing of the amended Public Service Act.

“They noted that the signing of the amended Public Service Act (PSA), which allows up to 100% 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 agency said. 

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