Satellite broadband internet providers are now being welcomed by the President with his Executive Order No. 127 or “Expanding the Provision of Internet Services through Inclusive Access to Satellite Services.” EO127 amends the existing Executive Order No. 467 of 1998 by allowing both enfranchised and non-enfranchised but duly registered telecommunication entities, as well as value-added service providers to directly access all satellite systems.
In short, this allows any registered telecommunication entity to utilize any of the 14 high throughput satellites currently covering the country to build and operate broadband facilities and services.
Allowing new market players to access or to maximize existing satellite systems for broadband services can speed up the process for local ISPs to reach underserved and far-flung areas. Support for the new amendment doesn’t necessarily mean that local ISPs should forgo setting up land-based cell sites in favor of satellite systems but rather encourages them to explore or partner with services that can help utilize satellite systems as an option. This could potentially supersede laying fiber or broadband lines that take ages to complete in areas where laying physical cable and other similar hardware is challenging because of terrain and other features.
The news comes as a timely encouragement to Converge who recently confirmed that they are in talks with Starlink, Elon Musk’s internet broadband service which runs on a satellite system. With President’s blessing, it’s likely that the government may greenlight more internet-related projects involving foreign service providers. What that means for our cybersecurity is still up for debate.