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Astranis to Provide Dedicated Internet Access to the Philippines
Connecting Underserved Communities
Astranis, a San Francisco-based satellite company, has signed a groundbreaking deal to provide dedicated internet service to the Philippines. This marks the first time that the archipelago nation will have access to this kind of service. The company plans to use this capacity to connect hospitals, schools, enterprises, and set up community Wi-Fi centers. As a result, an estimated 2 million people will gain broadband internet access that they previously did not have.
The satellite responsible for providing service to the Philippines is scheduled to launch in 2024. This endeavor is part of Astranis' mission to bring service to underserved communities worldwide. The company has already launched its first satellite to bring internet access to hundreds of thousands of people in Alaska. Additionally, another upcoming satellite will bring service to 3 million people in Peru.
Astranis will own and operate the satellite, while services provider Orbits Corp. has entered into a long-term contract, buying capacity for a local Philippine internet service provider known as HTechCorp. The financial details of the contract have not been disclosed, but Astranis CEO John Gedmark emphasizes that the service will be provided at a very low cost. This is particularly significant considering that broadband access has been a major problem for the Philippines, given its population of over 100 million people spread across more than 7,000 islands.
Economic Benefits and Expansion Plans
Astranis cites a third-party study which estimates that bringing broadband access to the Philippines would create economic value in the country surpassing $100 billion by the end of the decade. In terms of its future plans, Astranis is preparing to launch two more batches of satellites, referred to as "Block 2" and "Block 3". Block 2, set to launch in the fourth quarter, will feature four satellites, including one for Peru. Block 3 is scheduled for a mid-2024 launch and will consist of five satellites, one of which is dedicated to serving the Philippines.
A Unique Approach
Astranis' approach to providing broadband service from space is unique. The company's satellite, which is about the size of a dishwasher, combines the small form factor of low Earth orbit satellites like Starlink with the geosynchronous orbit used by traditional players like Viasat. Geosynchronous orbit is positioned approximately 22,000 miles above the Earth's surface, allowing the spacecraft to stay fixed above a specific location as the Earth rotates. With this approach, Astranis is able to cover the entire Philippines with just one satellite, providing comprehensive coverage for the entire nation.
Astranis' groundbreaking deal to provide dedicated internet access to the Philippines presents an incredible opportunity for new businesses entering the market. The company's mission to connect underserved communities aligns perfectly with the growing demand for reliable broadband access in the country. With an estimated 2 million people gaining internet access for the first time, there is a vast untapped market waiting to be explored.
The affordability of Astranis' service is particularly significant, considering the challenges posed by the Philippines' population spread across thousands of islands. For new businesses, this means that they can reach a wider customer base at a low cost, contributing to increased market potential and economic growth.
Moreover, the economic benefits projected by Astranis amounting to over $100 billion by the end of the decade highlight the immense potential for businesses to thrive in this newly-connected ecosystem. The availability of broadband internet opens up opportunities for sectors such as e-commerce, online education, telemedicine, and more.
Astranis' unique approach utilizing a compact satellite in geosynchronous orbit further demonstrates its commitment to providing comprehensive coverage to the entire nation. This infrastructure advantage ensures a reliable and consistent internet connection, paving the way for businesses to leverage technology and digital platforms in the Philippines.
In conclusion, Astranis' dedication to expanding internet access in the Philippines presents an exciting prospect for new businesses looking to enter the market. The combination of affordable connectivity, vast economic potential, and comprehensive coverage lays the foundation for innovation and growth in various sectors. As the nation embraces the benefits of broadband internet, new businesses have the opportunity to make a significant impact on the country's evolving digital landscape.
Article First Published at: https://www.cnbc.com/2023/07/11/astranis-satellite-internet-coming-to-the-philippines-next-year.html