SpaceX’s Starlink is now available in Nigeria, the company has said.
The Elon Musk-owned firm confirmed this in a tweet on Monday, stating that Nigeria was the first African country to enjoy its services.
It tweeted, “Starlink is now available in Nigeria – the first African country to receive service.”
Nigeria is the 47th country in the world to get Starlink Internet services.
Starlink is now available in Nigeria – the first African country to receive service! → https://t.co/slZbTmZmAt
— SpaceX (@SpaceX) January 30, 2023
Starlink seeks to deliver a global broadband network, using a constellation of Low Earth Orbit to provide high-speed internet coverage with the capacity to penetrate rural and geographically isolated areas.
Before the announcement yesterday, discussion between spaceX and Nigerian authorities to launch its internet service in the west African country started in late 2021 albeit virtually.
The company started talks with the Nigerian Communications Commission to begin the process of pursuing all necessary licenses to bring Starlink, its satellite-based broadband services to Nigeria.
Having made substantial progress in the discussion, the Commission granted SpaceX’s request for a face-to-face discussion to gain better insights on the prospects of their proposal.
Led by SpaceX’s Starlink Market Access Director for Africa, Ryan Goodnight and supported by the company’s consultant, Levin Born, the company provided an overview of its plans, expectations, licensing requests and deployment phases during the meeting.
After the presentation by SpaceX team, the Executive Commissioner, Technical Services, NCC, Ubale Maska, who stood in for the EVC, said NCC will work on necessary modalities to ensure that it balances the need for healthy competition vis-a-vis the entry of new technologies, in order to protect all industry stakeholders.
“As the regulator of a highly dynamic sector in Nigeria, the Commission is conscious of the need to ensure that our regulatory actions are anchored on national interest.
“We have listened to your presentation and we will review it vis-à-vis our regulatory direction of ensuring effective and a sustainable telecoms ecosystem where a licensee’s operational model does not dampen healthy competition among other licensees,” Maska told the SpaceX delegation.
According to NCC, broadband penetration hit 47.36 per cent as of December 2022. Nigeria hopes to increase its broadband penetration to 50 per cent in 2023 and 90 per cent in 2025.
The ‘Nigerian National Broadband Plan: 2020–2025,’ reads in part, “The new Broadband Plan is designed to deliver data download speeds across Nigeria of a minimum 25Mbps in urban areas, and 10Mbps in rural areas, with effective coverage available to at least 90 per cent of the population by 2025 at a price not more than N390 per 1GB of data (i.e. 2 per cent of median income or 1 per cent of minimum wage).
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