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Development of satellite-based technologies needed to improve internet access

Given that the Philippines is an archipelagic country and is not well supported by robust telecommunications infrastructure, maximizing the use of satellite technology as an alternative connectivity solution can address problems on the reliability of  internet connection especially in many remote areas, Senator Win Gatchalian said.


JOLO, SULU, Philippines – Men install a satellite dish at the provincial capitol grounds to provide the local disaster management office with new generation satellite internet service, 6 Nov 2020. Through the Satellite-Based Technologies for Internet Connectivity Act of 2021, Senator Win Gatchalian said this bill envisions internet access will be improved by encouraging the entry of new satellite technologies to provide services to either unserved or underserved areas in an archipelagic country like the Philippines. Photo by Mark Cayabyab/OS WIN GATCHALIAN

In necessitating the filing of Senate Bill No. 2250 or the “Satellite-Based Technologies for Internet Connectivity Act of 2021”, Gatchalian explained that a satellite is used to get an internet signal from the Internet Service Provider (ISP) to the user. To further illustrate, the ISP sends a fiber internet signal to a satellite in space. The satellite dish is connected to the modem of the user which then connects the user to the internet.

At a time when most transactions were shifted to virtual platforms to lessen physical interactions amid the COVID-19 pandemic, Gatchalian said the use of digital technologies in the country is still below its potential with 45% of Filipinos and 74% of public schools nationwide remain unconnected. The situation is far worse in the Visayas and Mindanao where there’s less than 40% of internet usage.

“Ang problema natin, bukod sa kulang sa imprastraktura, limitado pa rin ang bilang ng mga nagbibigay serbisyo pagdating sa internet connection. Kaya kahit na sabihin pang bumibilis na ang internet sa ilang mga siyudad, hindi pa rin ramdam lalo na sa mga liblib na probinsya na walang cell sites o towers,” Gatchalian said.

The lawmaker added that satellite-based internet is commonly used by both developed and developing countries to provide internet services especially in an area where it is more expensive to roll out wired or mobile networks.

It is envisioned through this bill that internet access will be improved by encouraging the entry of new satellite technologies to provide services to those either unserved or underserved areas, the senator said.

“Improving internet access in the country will spur investments in the Information and Communications Technology (ICT) sector and expand the digital infrastructure that will ensure universal access to the internet, especially in critical areas such as e-government and the delivery of basic services, education, health, trade, finance, disaster preparedness, and public safety, he concluded.