Let us hope the twin development in the Philippines’ IT world — Uy’s appointment and Starlink registration with NTC — will be a huge positive jolt resulting for much faster internet service in the Philippines.
By EDD K. USMAN | @edd1819 | @bluestar0910 | SDN — Science and Digital News
Short link: https://wp.me/paaccn-jcH
(SDN) — “Hulog ng lang ang internet na ‘yan!” (That internet is a gift from heaven.)
This is how lawyer and IT expert John Ivan Uy has dubbed the satellite-powered Starlink internet of American billionaire SpaceX CEO Elon Musk. Make that mega-constellation of satellites, Musk’s plans for Starlink.
Uy, a consistent fixture in the Philippines’ world of information technology, is the incoming head and secretary of the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT). He brings a wealth of experience in the tech universe.
Certainly, he was not speaking literally, but referring to Starlink internet being generated by a string of satellites on a Low Earth Orbit (LEO), beaming signals to ground receivers that translates to connectivity. Starlink promises “high-speed and low latency” internet.
Of the LEO kind, SpaceX’s satellites’ orbit is more or less 550 kilometers from Planet Earth. For context, the Diwata-1 and Diwata-2, both LEO, microsatellites of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) were released from the International Space Station (ISS) to their 400 km-orbit.
A resident of Davao City, Uy was interviewed over DZRH Radio on Tuesday morning, June 1, 2022, by veteran broadcaster Deo Macalma of Pinili, Ilocos Sur. The radio broadcast stalwart asked the new IT expert on how the country’s rural areas could benefit from Starlink, a network of satellites of SpaceX powering internet across the globe. At least in 32 countries.
Uy said, among others, that fishing villages and farming barangays would benefit from Starlink internet which, he pointed out, will provide 200 megabytes per second (Mbps) of speed.
Macalma, who noted “the slowest internet in the country,” suggested that the internet from Starlink could be called “Broadband ng Bayan”.
“Broadband ng Masa”, Uy responded. Broadband ng Masa translates to “BBM”, the popular nickname for May 9, 2022 political exercise President-elect Bongbong Marcos (Ferdinand Marcos, Jr.).
Musk’s satellites-based internet does not require cable unlike ground-based internet that rides on cable, or fiber optics.
Starlink connectivity just what Philippines ordered
It could be recalled that SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket, its fifth, darted into space on May 23, 2019 carrying in its nose cone 60 satellites to beam internet connectivity across the globe. It then spewed the satellites into their orbit, adding to the thousands of tech denizens of the sky.
Musk’s dream is to provide the world an affordable internet coverage. He plans to fulfill his dream with 12,000 satellites each weighing 227 kilo grams — 500 pounds — (each of the DOST Diwata microsatellites weighed only 50 kg).
Filipinos are in the loop to be one of the firsts to enjoy SpaceX’s fast connectivity service after the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) approved Musk’s Starlink Internet Services Philippines, Inc. as a value-added service (VAS) provider.
“The NTC’s swift processing of Starlink’s VAS provider registration was meant to expedite the service’s immediate roll-out,” the NTC emphasized in a statement. NTC deliberations took only about 30 minutes on the registration.
NTC Commissioner Gamaliel Cordoba explained the quick action: “The NTC is steadfast in helping ensure that roll-out of Starlink’s internet access services will be done expeditiously and professionally.”
On its website, starlink.com, it said, “Starlink is ideally suited for areas where connectivity has been unreliable or completely unavailable” and its internet gives users the chance “to gain access to education, health services and even communications support during natural disaster.”
A few countries are already using Starlink’s internet service in its beta form.
It seems Starlink internet is just what the Philippines ordered because the country’s major telecommunications network do not, or hardly, venture to the far-flung communities for obvious reasons.
Uy gave the reason in the interview: No profit yet costly operation in the rural communities.
Another thing why Starlink is ideal for the Philippines, it’s the frequent typhoons that spell disasters, more often than not break down infrastructure and cut off communications just when they are most needed. Think Super Typhoon Yolanda (international name Haiyan) that hit Eastern Samar and other provinces on November 8, 2013.
The soon-to-be officially ICT secretary was named to the DICT by Marcos. Uy served in the administration of then President Benigno “Noynoy” S. Aquino III as head of the defunct Commission on Information and Communications Technology (CICT) in 2010.
As CIO (chief information officer) of the Supreme Court under the then Chief Justice Hilario Davide, Jr., Uy led the High Court’s digital transformation as he implemented its digitalization. He is an expert on computer forensics, cybercrime, electronic evidence, e-commerce, and digital ethics (according to Rappler.com).
Uy will replace DICT Acting Secretary Emmanuel Rey R. Caintic, who sub-in for erstwhile secretary Gregorio “Gringo” Honasan who ran in the 2022 senatorial race.
Former Globe official and lawyer Rodolfo Salalima first headed the DICT, then former Armed Forces general Eliseo Rio, Jr., then Honasan, President Rodrigo R. Duterte’s pick from the Senate.
Let us hope the twin development in the IT world — Uy’s appointment and Starlink registration with NTC — will be a positive jolt resulting in a much, much faster internet service in the Philippines. And truly heaven’s gift! (✓)
Featured image of Starlink logo credit to Starlink.com.
Sources: Space.com, Starlink.com, mb.com.ph