MANILA - The National Telecommunications Commission on Friday said it approved the registration of SpaceX's Starlink Internet Services Philippines Inc, which would enable it to start providing internet services in the country.
Billionaire Elon Musk's SpaceX developed Starlink or the low-earth orbit satellite to bring broadband technology that can reach even remote areas.
In a statement, the NTC said it approved Starlink's registration as a value-added service (VAS) provider which would allow the firm to directly access satellite systems, and build and operate broadband facilities to offer internet services.
"The NTC is steadfast in helping ensure that roll-out of Starlink’s internet access services will be done expeditiously and professionally," NTC Commissioner Gamaliel Cordoba said.
"The NTC’s swift processing of Starlink’s VAS provider registration was meant to expedite the service’s immediate roll-out," the NTC said.
Starlink will offer low latency satellite internet service with a download speed between 100 Mbps to 200 Mbps using advanced satellites in low orbit, it added.
Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez earlier said the government would assist the company in the permitting process, especially after President Rodrigo Duterte signed the amended Public Service Act (PSA), which enabled foreign investors to operate 100 percent of businesses in select sectors such as telcos.
Lopez said the goal was for Starlink to start operations before the end of President Rodrigo Duterte's term, which is on June 30.
Meanwhile, SpaceX thanked the regulator for its prompt action on the VAS license which was immediately approved following the completion of requirements, said the company's legal counsel Atty. Bien Marquez of Quisumbing Torres law firm.
"We would like to thank the NTC for issuing Starlink’s VAS license 30 minutes after we submitted our application with complete requirements," Marquez said.
"This 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.
With the approval of the VAS, the Philippines will become the first country in Southeast Asia to offer Starlink services, the NTC said. Japan is also currently negotiating with SpaceX for the service.
The NTC said Starlink is expected to cover villages in urban and suburban areas and rural communities that remain unserved or underserved.