Astranis, a space-based internet startup, announced on Tuesday that it will launch and operate the Philippines’ first dedicated internet satellite in 2024. The satellite will provide enough bandwidth to connect up to 2 million people in the archipelago, especially in underserved communities.
Astranis is partnering with Orbits Corp, a satellite services provider, and its sister company HTechCorp, a Philippine internet service provider (ISP), to bring the satellite online. The companies did not disclose the financial details of the contract.
The Philippines is a challenging country to cover with traditional connectivity technologies, such as fiber or microwave towers, due to its geography and frequent natural disasters.
Astranis’ solution is to use small, low-cost satellites that operate in geosynchronous orbit (GEO), which is around 22,000 miles above Earth’s surface. Unlike other satellite internet providers that use constellations of hundreds or thousands of satellites in low Earth orbit (LEO), Astranis uses a single satellite that stays in a fixed position relative to the ground. This reduces the complexity and cost of the system, while still providing high-speed and low-latency service.
Astranis also differs from other satellite internet providers in its business model. Instead of selling subscriptions directly to consumers, Astranis sells broadband capacity to local ISPs and telecommunications companies, who then distribute it to their customers. This way, Astranis leverages the existing infrastructure and customer base of its partners, while also empowering them to offer better service and reach new markets.
The satellite for the Philippines will be one of several satellites that Astranis plans to launch in the next two years. The company already has contracts to bring service to Alaska and Peru, and expects to launch four more satellites before the end of this year. The company also raised $250 million in Series C funding earlier this year, valuing it at $1.4 billion.
Also read: Starlink is now available in the Philippines
Astranis hopes that its satellites will help bridge the global digital divide and unlock economic opportunities for millions of people around the world.