NIGERIA – SpaceX, an American private space exploration company, has announced, through Mr Ryan Goodnight- its Market Access Director for Africa, that it is working to pursue all necessary licenses needed to bring the Starlink Satellite internet services to Nigeria.
SpaceX has been in discussion with NCC virtually over the past several months to begin the process of pursuing all necessary licences 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.
The NCC stated that it has listened to SpaceX’s presentation and will review it vis-à-vis its regulatory direction of ensuring an effective and sustainable telecoms ecosystem where a licensee’s operational model does not dampen healthy competition among other licensees.
“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,” NCC said.
NCC added that broadband penetration of 70% which covers 90% of the population is the FG’s target in its National Broadband Plan (NNBP), 2020-2025. This is also in line with its National Digital Economy Policy and Strategy (NDEPS), 2010-2030.
Starlink is an internet service launched by SpaceX to improve internet coverage in rural and underserved areas globally. Starlink satellites are over 60 times closer to Earth than traditional satellites, resulting in lower latency and the ability to support services typically not possible with traditional satellite internet.
Starlink’s goal is to have about 42,000 satellites constellation in orbit by 2027. But the Federal Communications Commission and the International Telecommunication Union have approved only 12,000 of its satellites.
Recently, the Independent Communication Authority of South Africa (ICASA) said it is having discussions with SpaceX regarding Starlink. Because to operate Starlink in South Africa, SpaceX would need to obtain an Individual Electronic Communications Network Service (I-ECNS) and Individual Electronics Communications Service licence.
Meanwhile, the Federal Government announced a deal with Microsoft through the Federal Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy for the development of high-speed internet infrastructure across the six regions in the country.