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SOURCE: Press and Public Affairs Bureau

Speaker lauds PBBM for bagging $400M satellite deal bringing internet access to 30,000 barangays; create up to 10,000 indirect jobs and spur growth in far-flung areas
17 November 2023 09:02:44 AM

Speaker Ferdinand Martin G. Romualdez on Wednesday (US time) hailed President Ferdinand R. Marcos, Jr. for successfully spearheading a groundbreaking $400M partnership between Filipino firm HTECH Orbits and American satellite operator Astranis.

The partnership targets the launch of the first dedicated national satellite for the Philippines in 2024 that would deliver reliable, affordable Internet access to two million people across 5,000 communities, marking a pivotal milestone in the nation's digital evolution.

Plans for a second satellite launch in the 2nd quarter of 2025 are already in motion, designed to bring internet services to the unserved and underserved areas of the Philippines, spanning an estimated 30,000-plus barangays.

“The forging of this game-changing agreement is a historic achievement and a testament to the visionary leadership of President Marcos and his commitment to advancing the nation's technological capabilities,” said Romualdez, leader of the 300-plus strong House of Representatives.

Romualdez, along with other government officials, accompanied Pres. Marcos, Jr. at the Ritz Carlton Hotel in San Francisco, California during the presentation of a signed memorandum of understanding between the two firms and the ceremonial naming of the first satellite that would be known as “Agila.”

“This initiative is not just about technological advancement but also about empowering our people to foster inclusive development. The connectivity provided by these satellites will create jobs, catalyze economic growth, improve access to education and healthcare, and create new opportunities for Filipinos in every corner of the archipelago,” Romualdez added.

Unlike the low Earth orbit focus of other companies, Astranis’ approach features a small form factor satellite combined with proprietary technology and placed in geosynchronous orbit.

Astranis produces smaller and more powerful satellites at a fraction of the cost and they can build their satellites in 12-18 months, or about five times faster than their competitors.

“The connectivity provided by the dedicated satellite would also help accelerate the realization of the vision for prosperity under the Internet Transaction Act approved by Congress and expected to be signed into law soon by the President,” Romualdez said.

The measure calls for effective regulation of commercial activities through the internet or electronic means to ensure consumer rights and data privacy are protected, innovation is encouraged, fair advertising practices and competition are promoted, online transactions are secured, intellectual property rights are respected, and product standards and safety are observed.

“With enhanced connectivity and access to information, businesses in the Philippines can become more globally competitive. Improved internet services facilitate faster and more efficient communication, reducing barriers to trade and enabling businesses to participate more actively in the global economy,” Romualdez said.

He added that the installation of 3,000 to 6,000 sites for the satellite services requires substantial infrastructure development such as the construction of ground stations, network facilities, and other related infrastructure.

These, he said, would stimulate economic activity, generate employment in the construction sector, and contribute to the development of supporting industries.

Likewise, Romualdez noted that access to high-speed internet in previously underserved areas can also revolutionize education and healthcare services as remote learning, telemedicine, and other online services become feasible, ensuring that even the most distant communities have access to quality education and healthcare.

“The economic significance of this $400 million investment and satellite launch initiative lies not only in the immediate benefits of job creation and infrastructure development but also in the long-term potential to position the Philippines as a hub for space technology, stimulate economic growth in underserved regions, and enhance the country's overall competitiveness on the global stage,” Romualdez said. (END)