American Space-Based Internet Start-up to Launch in the Philippines

Astranis, an American space-based internet company, signs a deal that confirms how they’ll be launching and operating a satellite to provide bandwidth to Filipinos.

At the start of 2023, there are already around 85.16 million internet users in the Philippines, and around 72.5% of these users are connected online and are active when it comes to social media. This highlights the importance of the Internet in the country and how Filipinos frequently use it. 

Yes, even regardless of socioeconomic status. After all, the internet is used for work, business, entertainment, and even for education.

However, the challenge lies in the speed of said internet. Although the Philippines may have surpassed the global median speed of 75.18 Mbps to 87.13 Mbps, it still falls behind other countries like Korea which have internet speeds of 200 Mbps and above. 

The high demand for improved internet connection in the country pulls in great interest from foreign investors who wish to deliver great internet services. Among these is an American space-based internet company Astranis, which recently signed a deal to operate in the Philippines.

Why the Philippines?

Based on the signed deal, it was confirmed that Astranis will be providing enough bandwidth that can connect up to two million users. They will be doing this in partnership with satellite services provider Orbits Corp, which will buy the capacity with its sister company HTechCorp—a Philippine internet service provider (ISP). 

“There are over 20 typhoons in the Philippines every year, and given the archipelago’s position in the Ring of Fire, other natural disasters often test the resolve of Filipinos, whether they live in Metro Manila or a rural community like Barangay Caagutayan,” says Astranis CEO John Gedmark. “Fiber lines flood; microwave towers fall over; and often the entire country is left to rely on satellite internet services to remain connected and safe.” 

Astranis on its Future Plans

The satellite that Astranis is working on will supposedly launch in the year 2024 so that it can provide solutions to the constant connectivity issues faced by Filipinos.

But how does their internet work? Just like Elon Musk’s Starlink, the company operates small satellites in geosynchronous orbit—located around 22,000 miles above the Earth’s surface. Moreover, the advantage of a space-based internet connection is that a single satellite can provide continuous access to a large geographical area. 

Rather than single subscription plans, the company also aims to partner with local telecommunications and ISPs to sell their broadband capacity. And aside from the Philippines, they are also targeting to launch four more satellites by the end of the year for their clients in other countries. 

By providing a stronger bandwidth, this deal might bring ease to Filipinos who are in dire need of a faster and more stable internet connection. Should that be the case, it will bring a lot of advantages to the country—as it will show progress in terms of technical aspects. And finally, it will also provide better opportunities for Filipinos whose jobs heavily rely on online and likewise provide more options on which ISP to get.