Nigeria Approves Elon Musk's Starlink

Alt: = "Starlink logo"

Nigeria Government has approved Elon Musk’s Starlink, a satellite internet constellation operated by SpaceX, that provides satellite Internet access coverage to 32 countries where its use has been licensed.

Elon Musk disclosed this in a tweet, which Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has confirmed issuing operating licence to SpaceX.

Starlink provides high-speed, low-latency broadband internet coverage across the globe. Within each of the 32 countries on its coverage, orders are fulfilled on a first-come, first-served basis.

The company’s team visited Nigeria in May, 2021 in respect of the licensing. During their visit, Starlink’s Market Access Director for Africa, Ryan Goodnight along with SpaceX consultant, Levin Born expressed interest to obtain a license to operate the satellite internet in the country. 

Before visiting, the regulator and the space company have been discussing the issue virtually before approval for a physical meeting was granted by the Nigerian Communications Commission.

After SpaceX representatives provided an overview of its plans, expectations, licensing requests, and deployment plans, the Executive Vice-Chairman, NCC, Prof. Umar Danbatta, represented by the Executive Commissioner, Technical Services, NCC, Ubale Maska, said: “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 further stressed that the Commission was interested in making necessary regulatory efforts to drive the coverage of rural, unserved, and underserved areas of the country through the accomplishments of the targets contained in the Nigerian National Broadband Plan, NNBP, 2020-2025. 

The company’s license in the Internet Service Provider (ISP) category and will be trading as Starlink Internet Services Nigeria Ltd. According to NCC, the license, which takes effect from May 2022 is to last for ten years, and it’s renewable.

What to Know About Starlink

  • Starlink is a satellite internet constellation provider owned by SpaceX
  • It is presently operating in 32 countries across the globe
  • It's registered in Nigeria as Starlink Internet Services Nigeria Limited, and it received a 10-year renewable license to operate under the Inter Service Provider category.
  • With high speeds and latency as low as 20 minutes in most locations, Starlink enables video calls, online gaming, streaming, and other high data rate activities that historically have not been possible with satellite internet. Users also have the option to take Starlink with them via the Portability feature or Starlink. 

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