Gatchalian seeks dev't of satellite-based technologies to improve Internet access

Published June 15, 2021, 5:15 PM

by Hannah Torregoza 

Senator Sherwin Gatchalian has filed a bill seeking the development of satellite-based technologies to improve the country’s Internet access.

In filing Senate Bill No. 2250 or the proposed “Satellite-Based Technologies for Internet Connectivity Act of 2021,” Gatchalian said satellite technology will help spur public and private transactions especially at a time when most businesses have shifted to virtual platforms to lessen physical interactions amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Gatchalian said the use of digital technologies in the country is still below its potential with 45 percent of Filipinos and 74 percent of public schools nationwide remain unconnected.

He noted the situation is far worse in the Visayas and Mindanao where there’s less than 40 percent of Internet usage.

“Our problem is that, aside from lack of infrastructure, there is still a limit on the number of those that can provide internet connection services,” Gatchalian pointed out.

“That’s why even if they say that the Internet connection is getting faster in some cities, it can’t be felt in far-flung provinces that have no cell sites or towers,” he said.

He said the bill seeks to improve Internet access by encouraging the entry of new satellite technologies to provide services to those either un-served or underserved areas.

The senator added satellite-based internet is commonly used both by developed and developing countries to provide Internet services especially in an area where it is more expensive to roll out wired or mobile networks.

“Improving Internet access in the country will spur investments in the Information and Communications Technology (ICT) sector and expand the digital infrastructure that will ensure universal access to the Internet, especially in critical areas such as e-government and the delivery of basic services, education, health, trade, finance, disaster preparedness, and public safety,” he said.