President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. has announced his plan to bring the first two internet satellites solely dedicated to the Philippines. During his working visit to the United States, Astranis Space Technologies Corp. signed an agreement with Orbits Corp. to launch MicroGEO satellites and provide internet connectivity to unserved and underserved areas in the country.
The initiative has been praised by members of both houses of Congress for its potential to unlock stronger economic activities and create more opportunities in far-flung areas. This program is expected to have several benefits, including improved education for the youth, enhanced marketing capabilities for local products, and crucial access to regular weather information, especially for farmers.
Sen. Francis Tolentino, Vice Chairman of the Senate Committee on Science and Technology, highlighted the significance of internet satellites in opening up opportunities for areas that suffer from technological poverty and limited internet access. He emphasized that this step would help alleviate economic stagnation in these regions.
Bulacan’s San Jose del Monte City Rep. Rida Robes, a member of the House Information and Communications Technology Committee, also commended President Marcos for addressing the country’s digital divide. Despite the popularity of platforms like TikTok and YouTube, around 25 million Filipinos still lack internet access, particularly in remote areas where connectivity is an issue.
President Marcos’ program to bring the two dedicated internet satellites is expected to generate a US$400 million investment over the next eight years. These MicroGEO satellites will provide internet service to up to 10 million users and 30,000 barangays in unserved and underserved areas. Moreover, it is projected to create over 10,000 jobs for direct and indirect employees and partners, contributing to economic growth.
Overall, this initiative aims to bridge the digital divide, improve livelihoods, and strengthen democracy by providing access to free information and opportunities for the underserved population in the Philippines.