DICT: Elon Musk's Starlink eyes full coverage of PH by mid-2023

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, August 29) — American billionaire Elon Musk's satellite-based internet service provider Starlink is targeting to fully cover the Philippines by "the middle of next year," the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) said.

"The number of satellites sent up there initially covers the northern hemisphere, but in my recent meeting with their representative here, they assured me that by middle of next year, they'll have full 100% coverage for the Philippines," DICT Secretary Ivan John Uy told CNN Philippines in an interview aired on Monday.

Uy said Starlink is set to launch commercially by the end of 2022 in the Philippines, the US-based company's first venture in Southeast Asia.

In late May, Starlink secured the green light from the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) to register in the country as a value-added service provider.

The approval allows the company to "directly access satellite systems, build and operate broadband facilities to offer internet services," the NTC earlier said.

Starlink services involve high-speed low latency satellite internet with a download speed of between 100 to 200 megabits per second (mbps) at cost-effective rates.

Aside from urban areas, the government previously said Starlink might cater to the internet needs of Filipinos residing in rural areas with unserved or underserved connectivity.

On welcoming other foreign players, Uy said they are on a wait-and-see mode.

"A lot of these investors are looking at how the Philippines (will) treat Elon Musk and their investment here," he said.

"If... they see that the Philippines is indeed open for business for foreign direct investments, I'm sure they're going to come in," Uy added.