Mayor Isko to negotiate with SpaceX for low-orbit satellite 'Starlink' purchase

Published March 17, 2022, 3:04 PM

by Jaleen Ramos

Manila Mayor Francisco “Isko Moreno” Domagoso on Thursday, March 17, announced that the Manila City Council has authorized him to negotiate with Elon Musk’s company for the purchase of Starlink low-orbit satellite.

Mayor Isko Moreno (Photo by Noel B. Pabalate/ MANILA BULLETIN)

“I was informed by the City Council of Manila that it has passed a resolution authorizing me as city mayor to negotiate with SpaceX Enterprise Group, which is the marketing arm of Elon Musk’s Starlink company,” Domagoso said during a press conference.

Under City Council Resolution No. 46, Domagoso is authorized “to negotiate and/or enter into a contract with SpaceX Enterprise for the use of Starlink, the world’s most advanced broadband internet system in the City of Manila.”

“I hope we can avail of Starlink low-orbit satellites soonest. The best success story is in Ukraine when Elon Musk deployed a number of satellites in that country after its internet connectivity was destroyed by Russian forces. It’s in the news. Hopefully, may awa ang Diyos, pwede tayong gumamit ng Starlink sa buong bansa pag tayo naging pangulo sa Mayo (with God’s mercy, we can use Starlink all over the country if I get elected as president in May),” he said.

Domagoso also noted that the Starlink will help the country for disaster and calamity preparedness.

“Hindi naman lingid sa atin na maraming kalamidad sa Pilipinas lalu na ang malalakas na bagyo at lindol. At kadalasan nasisira ay ang linya ng komunikasyon gaya ng nangyari sa Visayas, Mindanao na sinalanta ni Odette. Walang nang telepono, wala pang internet. So malaking tulong itong kay Elon Musk dahil may signal ito kahit may bagyo at lindol (We know that there are many calamities in the Philippines, especially strong typhoons and earthquakes. Oftentimes, the line of communication is disrupted as what had happened in Visayas, Mindanao which was devastated by Odette. No phone, no internet yet. Elon Musk satellite service is a big help because it has a signal even with storms and earthquakes),” the Manila Mayor pointed out.

The high-speed broadband services offered by Starlink will also benefit public school students in Manila, Domagoso added.

“While most satellite internet services today come from single geostationary satellites that orbit the planet at about 35,000km, Starlink is a constellation of multiple satellites that orbit the planet much closer to Earth, at about 550km, and cover the entire globe,” the resolution said.

“Because Starlink satellites are in a low orbit, the round-trip data time between the user and the satellite – also known as latency – is much lower than with satellites in geostationary orbit. This enables Starlink to deliver services like online gaming that are usually not possible on other satellite broadband systems,” it stated.

Among the principal authors of the said resolution are Majority Floor Leader Joel Chua, Acting Majority Floor Leader Macario Lacson, President Pro Tempore, and Acting Presiding Officer Ernesto Isip Jr.