This visualization shows an Astranis satellite in orbit over the Philippines.

Astranis

San Francisco-based Astranis, which takes an alternative approach to providing internet access via satellite, recently signed a deal to provide dedicated service to the Philippines, a first for the archipelagic nation.

Astranis CEO John Gedmark told CNBC: “They will use this capability to connect hospitals, schools and other businesses, and build community Wi-Fi hubs.”

“We estimate that we will bring up to 2 million people online, accessing broadband Internet that they didn’t have before,” Gedmark added.

The satellite, which will serve the Philippines, is scheduled to launch in 2024. It is the latest in Astranis’ campaign to serve underserved communities around the world, with its first small satellite dedicated to serving “hundreds of thousands of “people” in Alaska, and another forthcoming satellite expected to serve Peru. 3 million people are served.

Astranis will own and operate the satellite, with service provider Orbits Corp. purchasing the capacity through a long-term contract with local Internet service provider HTechCorp in the Philippines. Astranis declined to disclose the financial details of the contract, but Gedmark stressed that the cost of the service was “very low”.

The Philippines has a population of over 100 million spread across more than 7,000 mountainous islands. That makes broadband service “one of the biggest problems by far,” Gerdmark said.

Astranis pointed out that recently third party research It is estimated that introducing broadband access to the Philippines (also known as “bridging the digital divide”) will generate more than $100 billion in economic value for the country by the end of this decade.

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Astranis launched its first satellite in May. It is currently preparing to launch two more batches of satellites — what Astranis calls “Block 2” and “Block 3.” Block 2 will launch in Q4 Will carry four satellites, including one for Peru, with Block 3 launching in mid-2024 It will carry five satellites, one of which is aimed at the Philippines.

The company is one of a number of next-generation broadband satellite systems in development, including SpaceX’s Starlink, UK-owned OneWeb, Amazon’s Kuiper Project, AST space move and others.

But Gerdmark has previously said the company’s approach marks a unique way of delivering broadband from space. The company’s dishwasher-sized satellites combine the small form factor of satellites in low Earth orbit, such as Starlink, with the distant geosynchronous orbits of traditional satellites, such as Satellite. Via Satellite.

Geosynchronous Orbit (GEO) is about 22,000 miles above the Earth’s surface, a position that allows spacecraft to stay above a fixed position that matches the Earth’s rotation.

Gedmark noted that Astranis will be able to “cover the entire Philippines with this one satellite.”

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