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Lawmakers upbeat on 'Agila' internet satellite program

MANILA, Philippines — Lawmakers from both chambers of Congress gave a thumbs up to Malacanang’s plan to acquire internet satellites that would service even remote areas in the Philippines.

Astranis Space Technologies Corp. struck a deal with Orbits Corp. to bring internet connectivity to far-flung areas in the countries by launching two MicroGEO satellites. The agreement was signed during President Ferdinand Marcos Jr.’s recent visit to the United States.

These satellites will reportedly provide internet service in unserved in the country, covering up to 10 million users and 30,000 barangays.

Sen. Francis Tolentino, Vice Chairman of Senate Committee on Science and Technology, said the economy would get a significant boost with stronger internet connectivity throughout the Philippines, especially in remote areas.

Improved education for the youth, enhanced marketing capabilities for local products, and crucial access to regular weather information — which is vital especially for farmers — are among the satellite program’s potential benefits listed by Tolentino.

“Many areas in the country suffer from technological poverty and they are internet poor because telcos find the cost of servicing them as economically unfeasible. And this contributes to economic stagnation,” Tolentino said.

“Internet satellite will open these areas to opportunities that will improve the education of their youth, the marketing of their products, and even weather information which is what farmers need on a regular basis,” he added.

Meanwhile, San Jose del Monte, Bulacan Rep. Rida Robes, member of the House Information and Communications Technology Committee, saw the program’s pivotal function in ensuring that most Filipinos are capable of accessing the internet.

Robles noted that 25 million Filipinos still lack internet access, particularly in remote areas where both physical and broadband isolation persist. 

“Kahit uso na ang TikTok, kahit YouTube na ang bagong TV, 25 milyon pa ring mga Pilipino ang hindi internet users dahil walang serbisyo sa kanila. Yung liblib na lugar ay hindi lang physically isolated, broadband isolated pa,” said Robes.

"At ang daming economic opportunities na