An American private space exploration company founded by Elon Musk called SpaceX, is seeking for a license to bring Starlink, its internet service into Nigeria.
This was disclosed 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 Goodnight, Nigeria has been identified as a critical market in Africa. Before the face-to-face meeting happened last week, SpaceX had been discussing with the NCC virtually over the past several months.
Starlink is a low latency broadband internet system created to meet the needs of consumers in rural areas with low internet penetration across the globe. In simpler terms, it delivers super-fast internet via satellites to rural areas.
Starlink is currently in beta, meaning not everyone can sign up. Its beta service comes with a price tag of $99 (~₦40,000) per month. There’s also a $499 (~₦200,000) upfront cost to cover the Starlink kit, which includes all of the necessary hardware: a small satellite dish, a router, power supply, and mounting tripod.
According to the company, over 10,000 customers currently have access to Starlink, with over 500,000 orders. It plans to expand into many service areas later in 2021.
With the Nigerian government’s plan to bring in 90% of its population online by 2025, it’ll be open to multiple avenues to bring this to reality. There are already a number of internet initiatives such as Facebook’s 2Africa, a $1 billion undersea internet cable for faster internet in Africa and Google and Econet’s partnership.