Can Elon Musk’s Starlink Drive Nigeria’s Internet Inclusion?
Elon Musk’s move to make space travel more affordable through his space exploration company SpaceX birthed Starlink, a product that will bring high-speed internet of up to 150Mbps to rural areas. The talks to launch Starlink in Nigeria, Africa’s most populous country has been on for some time now.
This isn’t too much of a surprise as Nigeria’s government has been pushing for the best routes to provide internet access to remote areas in the country, as it aims to bring 90% of the population online by 2025. Existing options are Facebook’s highspeed $1 billion internet cables running undersea and the Google-Econet partnership.
Starlink could offer a more viable means of achieving internet inclusion in Nigeria since all it requires are a clear view of the sky and a minimal hardware setup which includes, a satellite dish, router, power supply and a tripod.
The Major Challenge
Still in its beta stage, not many conclusions can be made about Starlink, but going by the current subscription prices $99 (~₦40,000) per month and $499 (~₦200,000) for the Starlink kit, it’ll be quite the hassle for the everyday Nigerian to get on board with the product. These high prices can be due to Starlink being in its testing phase. Probably, the prices will reduce when the product is launched. The Nigerian government could also take up part of the cost to help citizens easily access the offering.
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