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Elon Musk’s Starlink to launch high-speed internet in Rwanda-media

The Rwanda Space Agency (RSA) has announced that it has issued a license to Starlink, satellite internet constellation, to operate in the country. Its operations are set to begin in the first quarter of 2023.Elon Musk’s Starlink to launch high-speed internet in Rwanda-media

Starlink is operated by SpaceX, a spacecraft manufacturing company founded by billionaire Elon Musk.

“Starlink is planning to launch its services in Rwanda in the first quarter of this year, which would make it the second country in Africa to have its services officially operational,” Francis Ngabo, the CEO of RSA told The New Times.

 

The licensing agreement will allow Starlink to offer internet service to the people of Rwanda through its network of Low Earth Orbit (LEO) satellites, delivering higher speed and lower latency broadband internet, compared to traditional satellite communication.

As of December 2022, Starlink had over 3,500 satellites operating in LEO.

Rwanda is the fourth country in Africa to issue a license to Starlink after Mozambique, Nigeria and Malawi.

Prior to licensing, Rwanda was among a few countries given the opportunity to test Starlink connectivity in Africa. In tests conducted at different points of the country, Starlink speed reached up to 150 Mbps with a very low latency of 20 to 40 milliseconds (ms).

According to the RSA, the Starlink technology will significantly boost the capability to improve internet access in remote and rural areas where traditional wireless, cable and fiber-optic infrastructure is often difficult to deploy.

Ngabo said the licence given to Starlink cleared the way for the deployment of satellite broadband internet services in Rwanda.

 

“This aligns with our mission to leverage space capabilities for the national development by contributing to the overall target of establishing international connectivity redundancy and near-universal broadband coverage,” he said.

Additionally, it could greatly benefit unserved areas like national parks, he said.

The national space agency confirmed that the satellite broadband is not intended to replace existing internet service providers but rather to complement and enhance their services by providing coverage in areas where traditional infrastructure is lacking.

The satellite internet can also serve as a backup option in case of failures or outages in the primary network, Ngabo said.

He added that it will help ensure that internet access is reliable and widely available throughout the country.

Paula Ingabire, Minister of ICT and Innovation, said that this license aligns with the recent National Broadband Policy and Strategy that emphasizes the objective to grow the number of players that will drive the reach and diversity of affordable, quality broadband services.

“We are confident that the high speed and low latency of the service will greatly benefit both citizens and businesses,” Ingabire told The New Times.

“We look forward to seeing the positive impact it will have on the country’s competitiveness in the global digital economy,” she said.

The RSA boss noted that the space agency will continue working with satellite broadband internet providers to ensure competitive prices for the customers.

He added that the services are expected to increase the level of broadband competitiveness in the country as the end-user services will cost RWF48,000 for a bandwidth of up to 150 Mbps, while for the enterprises the bandwidth can go up to 350 Mbps.

Elon Musk’s Starlink to launch high-speed internet in Rwanda-media
Elon Musk’s Starlink to launch high-speed internet in Rwanda-media

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