President Marcos is seeking a partnership with US technology giant Starlink to address concerns over the slow internet connection in the Philippines, and to allow the country to cope with the demands of the digital age.
Speaking to the Filipino community yesterday here, Marcos said he was given a tour of the SpaceX facility and cited the benefits offered by American technology in improving connectivity and boosting productivity.
'Our vast archipelago... has 7,000 islands. That vast archipelago is an ideal candidate for satellite broadband service and we look forward to improving broadband connectivity in the Philippines through Starlink and through all the others,' Marcos said.
'In the Philippines, sometimes we still hear about 'the internet signal is weak,' but in the very near future, through these links that we were able to develop on this trip, we are very confident that we will no longer hear complaints about our internet, our online services. We will instead be hearing praise for the speed of our country's internet connectivity,' he added in a mix of Filipino and English.
SpaceX president and chief operating officer Gwynne Shotwell and SpaceX vice president for Starlink Operations Lauren Dreyer welcomed the President during the facility tour.
Information and Communications Technology Secretary Ivan Uy accompanied Marcos during the tour.
Marcos said the country should use new technologies to meet the challenges of digitalization.
'The technology is there. It is just up to us to adopt it. It is up to us to recognize what is appropriate technology for the Philippines and to bring it to the Philippines. That is the only thing we need to do and we have not done it,' he said.
Consumers have been complaining about the slow internet services in the Philippines, even if it has been labeled as the social media capital of the world.
The country dropped five spots to 86th out of 220 countries and territories in this year's edition of the Worldwide Broadband Speed League. Its average download speed was 43.36 Mbps, according to the report.
Marcos expressed hope that his discussions with businesses would enhance the internet services in the country.
'And we hope to always take full advantage of the new technologies to provide the solutions to the challenges that this new era of digitalization brings,' the Chief Executive said.
Starlink's satellite internet is said to have an advantage with regard to linking hard-to-reach and far-flung areas. The company beams internet signals directly from space, a mode of transmission that does not require extensive infrastructure.
Marcos reported there is already a communications satellite designed for the Philippines to allow the country to take full advantage of available technologies.
On Thursday, companies from the Philippines and the US signed an agreement that would give Manila its first satellites dedicated to enhancing internet connectivity.
The deal between satellite service providers Astranis and Orbits will involve the launching of microGEO satellites to provide connectivity to 10 million people and 30,000 barangays.
The agreement is expected to generate more than 10,000 jobs and a $400-million investment over the next eight years. The first satellite to be deployed would be called 'Agila.'
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