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SES targets to connect rural Philippines via O3b mPOWER satellite

GLOBAL satellite connectivity solutions company SES S.A. announced on Monday that its O3b mPOWER Satellite Constellation System, which will be launched this week, will help provide connectivity to remote areas in the Philippines.

“The launch is scheduled for mid-December and is the first of the five O3b mPOWER launches,” SES said in an e-mailed statement. “The global terabit-level scalable constellation will begin providing services in Q3 (third quarter of) 2023.”

“O3b mPOWER will help further bridge the digital divide in previously unconnected areas in the [Philippines] by delivering high-quality connectivity in remote areas or where geography makes communications infrastructure expensive to build,” the company noted.

The Philippines currently has 76.01 million internet users, accounting for only 68% of the population.

The O3b mPOWER, which will also support 4G and 5G mobile deployments in remote areas, is expected to launch in the Philippines and other markets in the region next year.

The SES O3b mPOWER is a second-generation medium-Earth orbit system that offers low-latency connectivity ranging from 50 megabits per second to multiple gigabits per second to different organizations worldwide.

“The SES O3b mPOWER Satellite Constellation envisions pushing for digital inclusion and connecting the unconnected, especially those in remote areas all across the globe,” the company said.

At the same time, the project is seen to benefit various sectors, including telecommunications, maritime, aviation, energy, and governments. It is also expected to provide instant bulletproof recovery solutions in case of natural disasters by ensuring uninterrupted connectivity.

“The O3b mPOWER communications system comprises an initial constellation of 11 high-throughput and low-latency satellites as well as extensive ground infrastructure,” the company noted.

In the Philippines, there is high connectivity in urban areas, but the opposite applies to rural areas, according to SES.

“More than ever, the Philippines is recognizing the need for connectivity services to drive digital inclusion and bridge the digital divide across the country. Under the Department of Information and Communications Technology, several initiatives have been put in place to connect unserved and underserved areas of the country including geographically isolated and disadvantaged areas,” it added. — Arjay L. Balinbin

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