American private space exploration company SpaceX has been reported to be working on getting the necessary licenses to launch Starlink, its internet service into Nigeria.
This was revealed by Ryan Goodnight SpaceX’s Starlink Market Access Director for Africa in a meeting with Nigerian Communications Commission’s (NCC) Executive Vice-Chairman, Prof. Umar Danbatta, last Friday in Abuja.
According to Mr Goodnight, SpaceX identified Nigeria as a critical market in Africa. This has apparently been in the making for the past several months as SpaceX has been in talks with Nigerian authorities.
What is Starlink?
18 years after the launch of SpaceX by tech mogul Elon Musk, the company expanded its efforts to provide satellite internet service via a product dubbed Starlink last year. This involved SpaceX launching satellites that now stand at over 1,100 in space.
Starlink is a low latency broadband internet system aimed at meeting the needs of consumers in rural areas with low internet penetration across the globe. So, it would be reasonable to see why SpaceX would look to spread the service to Africa.
Theoretically, Starlink is capable of delivering up to 150Mbps of internet speeds to any place on the planet. All the customer requires is a clear view of the sky.
The service is fully still in beta (testing) so not everyone can get to sign up. The beta service comes with a price tag of $99 (roughly KES10,600) per month. There’s also a $499 (roughly KES53,500) upfront fee for the Starlink kit. This consists of all the necessary hardware: a small satellite dish, a router, power supply and a mounting tripod.
The move is definitely welcome and one that could open a gateway for SpaceX to expand the service to other African countries. Of course, the rates are not for everyone but it worth noting that they are just for beta customers so they could get adjusted later on.
Would you want to see Starlink in Kenya as well?