SpaceX was hoping to launch Starlink service in the Philippines before the end of 2022, but that date has now been pushed back to the middle of 2023.
The country’s Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) announced the delay at the Economic Journalists Association of the Philippines-MVP Group Infrastructure Forum on Monday.
According to DICT Assistant Secretary Philip Varilla, the delay is because SpaceX doesn’t yet have enough satellites to cover the region and provide stable internet access.
“The Starlink will be operational here in the Philippines by the middle of next year. [With around] 4,400 satellites launching. It is very difficult to launch so many satellites. But they’re saying that they can complete it and service the Philippines by that time,” Varilla said (via GMA News)
News of Starlink expanding to the Philippines first came earlier this year when Trade and Industry Secretary Ramon M. Lopez announced in March that SpaceX’s permit application was being processed while SpaceX scouted for locations for their gateways.
The National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) approved the registration of Starlink in the country two months later.
It was later confirmed in July that Starlink would be offered before the end of 2022. SpaceX has not yet updated their website as it still shows the service will be available in Q4 2022.
When Starlink does finally launch in the Philippines, it will be a welcomed by residents as the country has one of the worst internet connections in the world, yet has some of the world’s most active social media users.
It will also “connect geographically isolated and disadvantaged areas, those [which] are really far from our telecommunications infrastructure so that they will be connected to the internet,” Varilla explained.