PH Space Agency looking into use of satellites to boost internet connectivity

Published June 4, 2021, 2:25 PM

by Jhon Aldrin Casinas

The Philippine Space Agency (PhilSA) is looking into the use of satellites to further improve the country’s internet connectivity as the Philippines embraces the changing landscape of the economy amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.

Philippine Space Agency (PhilSA)

In an public briefing Friday, June 4, PhilSA Director-General Joel Joseph S. Marciano, Jr. underscored the significant contribution of satellites in improving internet connectivity.

“Ang satellites ay malaki ang matutulong sa internet connectivity (Satellites can greatly help internet connectivity),” Marciano said.

“Tinitingnan iyan ng Philippine Space Agency at tayo ay nakikipag-ugnayan sa Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) (The Philippine Space Agency is looking into that and we are in coordination with the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT),” he added.

Marciano said PhilSA supports the Executive Order 127, Series of 2021 which was signed by President Duterte in March.

The measure aims to liberalize the access to satellites services and allow internet service providers (ISPs) to access the satellite systems to ensure the delivery of fast and reliable internet connectivity in the country.

The PhilSA chief said the agency is having talks with technology providers and other companies which have the capability to build satellites for internet connectivity.

“Kasalukuyan natin iyang pinag-aaralan. Sa tamang panahon, in partnership with DICT, mabubuo natin ang programang iyan (We are currently studying that. At the right time, in partnership with DICT, we can develop that program),” he said.

He pointed out that being connected will open the door for the digitalization of the country’s economy.

“The vision of PhilSA is bridge, uplift, and empower. That vision includes connecting our archipelago,” he said in Filipino.

“When we are connected, the door for digitalization will open. One of the requirements before we become a digital economy is connectivity and the other is infrastructure for computing,” he added.

Aside from the use of satellites to improve internet connectivity, he explained that satellite images can also be processed to extract useful data.

“We have teams of engineers and scientists that use artificial intelligence and machine learning to process the satellite images,” he said. “Part of the program of PhilSA is to develop our infrastructure where we use such data.”

Marciano underscored the importance of computing in the shift to digitalization by having high performance computers that scientists can use to create models of the climate, and even the pandemic, among others.

“Isa yang mga tools na pinoprovide at tinitingnan ng PhilSA para tayo ay maging isang knowledge economy at maging digital economy at magkaroon ng knowledge workforce (It is one of the tools that PhilSA provides and looks at for us to become a digital economy and to have a knowledge workforce),” he said.