PLDT and global satellite operator Telesat of Canada have successfully conducted the Philippines’ first on-orbit testing of high-speed broadband connectivity with Telesat’s Phase 1 Low Earth Orbit (LEO) satellite. This marks yet another milestone for PLDT as the country’s leading provider of communication services over satellite technology.
A first for Telesat with any operator in Southeast Asia, the testing was conducted from February 11 to February 19 by PLDT’s Technology Strategy and Transformation Office using an 85-cm Intellian parabolic antenna stationed at the PLDT office in Greenhills, San Juan to connect to the LEO satellite.
The live test and demonstration saw broadband download and upload speeds of 100.46 Mbps and 95.62 Mbps, respectively, and roundtrip latency of 26.53ms, which enabled a seamless meeting experience over Microsoft Teams, as well as mobile online gaming without lag, video streaming without buffering, and Facebook Live, via LEO satellite.
This successful test signals opportunities for PLDT and its wireless unit Smart Communications to use innovations in the satellite industry to expand their high-speed mobile and Internet services to more hard-to-reach communities across an archipelago like the Philippines.
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“Last year, we started looking into using LEO satellites to bring high-speed connectivity directly to our customers’ smartphones in far-flung areas without broadband internet services,” said Mario G. Tamayo, Head of Technology at PLDT and Smart. “This year, with our successful test with Telesat, we are a step closer to bringing satellite connectivity innovations and services to businesses and homes in the deepest rural and remote areas of the country.”
Low-earth orbit satellites are significantly closer to earth’s surface at around 500 to 2,000 kilometers, compared to geo-stationary satellites located in space 35,000 kilometers away. The distance allows the delivery of higher bandwidth with lower latency, and deeper penetration to mountains, valleys, and remote islands.
“This particular test utilized Telesat’s Phase 1 Low Earth Orbit (LEO) satellite at an altitude of 500 kilometers and we were really impressed by the results which are comparable to the speed and latency provided by a regular cell site,” explains Arvin L. Siena, Head of Technology Strategy and Transformation Office at PLDT and Smart.