SpaceX, a popular American private space exploration company founded by Elon Musk (also the CEO of Tesla), is seeking the necessary licenses to extend its internet service provision company Starlink to Nigeria.
Ryan Goodnight, the Market Access Director of SpaceX’s Starlink for Africa revealed during a meeting last Friday in Abuja, the capital city of Nigeria, with Prof. Umar Danbatta the Executive Vice-Chairman of the Nigerian Communications Commission’s (NCC).
SpaceX discussed with the NCC virtually over the last few months, before last week’s face-to-face meetings. And according to Mr. Goodnight, Nigeria is an important market in Africa and that’s one of the seasons to extend the services offered by Starlink to Nigeria.
Important Information About Starlink
Elon Musk founded SpaceX in 2002 to revolutionize space technology and reduce costs of space transport. The company expanded its efforts in the year 2020 to provide satellite internet service. As of March 2021, it is reported that Starlink had over a thousand plus (around 1,100) satellites in space.
Starlink is a high-speed, low latency broadband internet network designed to meet the needs of rural consumers with low global Internet penetration. It provides super-fast internet to rural areas via satellites in a simpler way.
It can supply Internet speeds of 150 Mbps theoretically to any place on the planet. The clear view of the sky is all the customer needs.
Service Costs and Competitors
Currently, Starlink is in beta, which means that not everybody has access to registration. Its beta is available at a monthly charge of $99 (approx. 40,000 NGN). It has a price tag. The Starlink kit includes all required hardware, including the small satellite dish, a mounting tripod, and power supply which amounts to $499 (approx. 200,000 NGN).
However, it should be noted that these prices only apply to beta clients. Prices may vary as the service becomes easier to access.
The company reports that besides now having over 10,000 customers, Starlink has more than 500,000 orders, and later in 2021, it plans to expand into many more service areas.
In Nigeria, SpaceX’s Starlink is a costly solution in comparison to similar internet plans that cost an average of $50, but bringing Starlink to Nigeria would revolutionize the Nigerian market.
With the Nigerian administration planning to bring about 90% of its population online by 2025, being open to several avenues is necessary to bring this plan to reality. Besides this, there are already some other internet initiatives including the partnership between Google and Econet, FaceBook’s 2Africa an undersea internet cable of $1 billion developed to help provide faster internet in African.