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SpaceX Strikes Deal with Converge to Lease Fiber Lines

by Duey Guison  February 16, 2022

It’s official: after being in talks for quite some time, Converge ICT has struck a deal with SpaceX for the former to lease its fiber lines and other ground support to the latter. This agreement is necessary, as SpaceX will need the necessary ground infrastructure to work with its thousands of low-orbit broadband satellites that will beam high-speed internet to far-flung and remote areas in the Philippines.

This agreement means that Starlink is set to launch commercially in the Philippines in 2023.

“We leased our infrastructure to them and some earth stations. In fact, in one of the [sites], the backbone and capacity, we are the ones providing it,” Converge CEO Dennis Anthony Uy said in a recent forum organized by Rotary Club of Makati.

While the agreement does pave the way for SpaceX to enter the Philippines with help from Converge, Uy hinted that SpaceX will eventually go solo with its satellite broadband venture in the Philippines. “I think the direction is they want to go on their own, they don’t want to have to partner with locals,” Uy adds. This comes at the right time for SpaceX, as President Rodrigo Dutetre signed an executive order back in 2018 allowing a lift on foreign ownership caps in select segments like internet businesses.

Despite the signed agreement, Uy explains that satellite internet services will not displace fiber internet services since both cater to different markets and that satellite internet is expensive. For reference, Starlink’s entry-level plan starts at $99 (~Php 5.2k) per month, and that does not include the $499(~Php 25.7k) fee for the antenna and necessary hardware.

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