Press Release
February 22, 2023

Pimentel lauds Elon Musk's Starlink coverage of PHL

In 2020, Pimentel, as chairman of the Senate Committee on Trade, Commerce and Entrepreneurship, wrote Musk a letter to explore how SpaceX could service the country

Senate Minority Leader Aquilino "Koko" Pimentel III welcomed the announcement of Space Exploration Technologies Corp. (SpaceX) that its services are now immediately available in the country and expressed optimism that that the Satellite-based service provider owned by billionaire Elon Musk will be able to provide internet access in rural, remote, unserved, and underserved areas in the Philippines.

"The internet has become a basic necessity in this modern world. Hence, I am glad that with SpaceX, we have a better chance of improving internet connectivity in rural areas and poor communities in our country," Pimentel said.

"Internet connectivity is crucial in remote learning, digital education, health care and other social services, banking services, as well as information on disaster and emergency preparedness," Pimentel said.

Pimentel has long been advocating for a faster, more reliable and equitable internet access in the country. In 2020, he wrote Musk and SpaceX a letter as then chairman of the Committee on Trade, Commerce, and Entrepreneurship to explore how the country could benefit from its internet service called Starlink.

In response, the company's representatives led by its Vice President for Satellite Government Affairs Patricia Cooper met with Pimentel in December 2021 to discuss Pimentel's proposal.

"The country and its 110 million Filipinos stand to benefit from our initiative. I am glad to have played a role in providing our countrymen better internet access at home, in office and anywhere in the country," Pimentel said as he noted how the country has been lagging behind in terms of internet connectivity.

"Connectivity is very important for the Philippines given that we are a nation of around 100 million people populating more than 7,000 islands. Furthermore, a substantial number of our citizens or around 10 million are living and working outside of the country. Thus, it is a duty of the government to ensure a better and more equitable internet connection," Pimentel stressed.

SpaceX started to develop its product Starlink global broadband in 2015. Two prototype test-flight satellites were launched in February 2018. Thereafter, additional test satellites and operational satellites were deployed in May 2019. Starlink has been serving its first customers in the United States and Canada, and they are currently driving fast to offer services internationally.

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