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The Philippines’ Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) has announced that SpaceX’s Starlink satellite internet services will start to be available by the end of this year.

A press conference was held to update the media on the latest developments in this much-anticipated project to address the digital gap in the country.

In a press release, DICT chief Ivan John Uy said, “The DICT is closely following the directives of President Ferdinand Marcos Jr., that is to provide digital connectivity across the many islands of the Philippines by building the country’s digital infrastructure, that will also lead to effective e-governance.”

He added, “This will bridge the digital divide in the country especially in an archipelagic country like the Philippines where laying fiber cables or establishing cell towers in mountainous areas can be challenging.”

Starlink is expected to connect the rural and remote communities in the country, which are underserved by major telecom operators. This breakthrough is a response to the new government’s call for digitalization of the country, wherein Filipinos from remote areas can have access to education, health services and online banking, among other digital needs.

SpaceX Executive Rebecca Hunter said that Starlink’s entry to the country does not mean competition with existing telecom players, but rather it will be a complementary connectivity solution to bridge the digital divide in the country.

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