Ultra bilyonaryo Henry “Big Boy” Sy Jr. is going to challenge the country’s broadband big boys with the world’s richest man, SpaceX chairman, CEO and CTO Elon Musk, as his partner.
Sy, through his new company Data Lake, has been picked as SpaceX’s reseller and integrator to hook up Filipinos with its high-speed, satellite internet service, Starlink, by the end end of this year.
Data Lake – which is partly owned by Anthony Almeda, president of the Sy-controlled National Grid corp. of the Philippines – has been conducting technical demonstrations of Starlink in the Philippines since early 2022.
SpaceX picked Data Lake after proving its service’s “quality and performance throughout the country.”
Sy and Almeda signed the agreement with SpaceX director for sale sand business development Nick Galano in Manila on Tuesday, October 18.
Starlink subscribers need to pay $499 for the starter kit (such as the satellite dish and WiFi router) and a monthly fee of $99 (P5,800).
Although this is two to three times the monthly fees charged by broadband providers PLDT, Globe and Converge, pundits expect the cost to go down as more subscribers switch to Starlink.
With its low-earth orbit (LEO) satellite constellation, Data Lake believes Starlink is well-suited for the country’s archipelagic nature (over 7,100 islands) and vulnerability to rough weather conditions (at least 24 typhoons a year).
“We’re excited about Starlink providing fast and reliable internet to the Filipino people. This can help connect families, businesses and education even in times of natural disasters,” said Almeda.