PLDT and Telesat look to LEOs for remote connectivity

PLDT and Telesat look to LEOs for remote connectivity

Philippines telco PLDT and global satellite operator Telesat of Canada say they have successfully conducted the Philippines' first on-orbit testing of high-speed broadband connectivity with Telesat's Phase 1 low earth orbit (LEO) satellite.

Described as a first for Telesat with any operator in Southeast Asia, the testing was conducted from 11 February to 19 February by PLDT's Technology Strategy and Transformation Office using an 85-cm Intellian parabolic antenna stationed at the PLDT office in Greenhills, San Juan, to connect to the LEO satellite. 

The live test and demonstration saw broadband download and upload speeds of 100.46 Mbps and 95.62 Mbps, respectively, and roundtrip latency of 26.53ms, which, the partners said, enabled a seamless meeting experience over Microsoft Teams, as well as mobile online gaming without lag, video streaming without buffering and Facebook Live, via LEO satellite. 

This successful test, say the partners, signals opportunities for PLDT and its wireless unit Smart to use innovations in the satellite industry to expand their high-speed mobile and internet services to more hard-to-reach communities across the Philippines.

This test utilized Telesat's Phase 1 Low Earth Orbit (LEO) satellite at an altitude of 500 kilometres. In fact as Arvin L Siena, head of Technology Strategy and Transformation Office at PLDT and Smart, points out, LEO satellites – at around 500 to 2,000 kilometres above the earth's surface – “allow the delivery of higher bandwidth with lower latency, and deeper penetration to mountains, valleys, and remote islands, for use especially by enterprises that require high-speed data for high-definition video conferencing, remote desktop connections, and remote business operations, for example”. 

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