Singapore's space tech startup enters PH market for high-speed internet

Singapore-based space tech startup Transcelestial Technologies announced Friday, February 19, that it closed a $2-million strategic investment from Globe Telecom subsidiary Kickstart Ventures under the Ayala Corporation's venture fund.

Transcelestial aims to work with Philippine telcos to provide a solution to the challenge of building cell sites, which usually involves high capital expenditures and delays due to right-of-way issues.

Transcelestial developed Centauri, which uses its propriety wireless laser communication technology to send data between buildings, cell towers, and other physical infrastructure.

Centauri, a shoe box-sized 3-kilogram product, can deliver fiber-equivalent bandwidth between towers and the telco core network.

Currently, Centauri has two versions – one for the 4G network with a bandwidth of 1 Gigabit per second (Gbps) and the other for the 5G network with a 10-Gbps bandwidth. Both versions can be used within a 3 to 5 kilometer range.

"The team at Kickstart have been fully aligned with our goals of solving the last mile and global bottlenecks in internet distribution. We could not have asked for a better partner to help us not only work with Globe in Philippines but also advise us on bringing our current and future products to solve some of the challenges in the archipelago nation," said Transcelestial CEO Rohit Jha.

Transcelestial's investment is the first to be publicly announced from Ayala's $180-million venture fund. The space tech firm is backed by investors that include Singapore government arm EDBI; venture capital firm Wavemaker partners; Michael Seibel, CEO of US-based startup accelerator Y-Combinator; and Charles Songhurt, former Microsoft executive.

Transcelestial plans to build a constellation of small satellites in low Earth orbit to deliver ultra high-speed network connectivity. Rollout is eyed in 2024, according to a Channel News Asia report.– Rappler.com

Aika Rey

Aika Rey is a business reporter for Rappler. She covered the Senate of the Philippines before fully diving into numbers and companies. Got tips? Find her on Twitter at @reyaika or shoot her an email at aika.rey@rappler.com.

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