A Babbler revealed that Musk’s SpaceX and Uy’s Converge ICT Solutions were in advanced talks to form a 60-40 partnership to provide Filipinos with an alternative, satellite-based broadband internet service.
A Babbler said negotiations between Converge and SpaceX, facilitated through the United States embassy, have ramped up in the past few weeks as the two parties move closer to a deal.
Converge would provide the last-mile network- gateway or earth stations – which would allow Filipinos in remote and underserved areas to hook up with Starlink’s low-orbit, satellites constellation
Under its franchise, granted by Congress in 2009, Converge can put up a wireless telecommunication network through satellite transmit and receive systems. Converge has its roots in Uy’s adopted home in Pampanga where he formed ComClark Network and Technology Corp. in 1996 which started laying down his fiber network.
The partnership with Musk has come at an opportune time Uy specially in the face of a massive assault from telecom giants, PLDT and Globe, eager to catch up in the in-demand fiber broadband market.
Uy’s vision is for Converge to corner 15 million households or 55 percent of the market by 2025.
SpaceX has recently opened preorders for Starlink internet which would cost an initial $499 (for the starter kit which includes a Wi-Fi router and dish) and a monthly fee of $99. Starlink beta tests showed a download speed of 104 Mbps and upload speed of 16 Mbps.
According to reviews.org, Starlink’s numbers were “light years” ahead of rival satellite systems due to its latency – the speed of internet signal as it moves from a consumer’s computer to the ISP (internet service provider) to the website server and back to the user or ping – of 39 milliseconds (ms) versus the current rate of 600 ms for rival satellite ISPs.