What Musk satellite internet plan means for Tanzania

Dar es Salaam. Elon Musk’s Starlink internet service is set to be available in the country in the first quarter of 2023, with analysts cautiously saying the new development will boost the digital economy.

The service, owned by the SpaceX company, provides internet connectivity to thousands of satellites in space that communicate with specific ground transceivers.

Yesterday’s speakers said the new service will only revitalize the digital industry if it’s cheap and offers fast internet.

On their official website, Starlink announced their plan to offer the services between January and March, pending regulatory approval.

Tanzania Communication Regulatory Authority (TCRA) Director-General Jabiri Bakari confirmed to The Citizen that Starlink Company had submitted an application.

When asked if he was aware of the imminent arrival of Starlink Corporation, Dr. Bakari: “Yes, I am aware that the company submitted an application via a portal.

The only African nations that have let Starlink operate so far are Nigeria and Mozambique. This was after receiving regulatory approvals from both nations.

According to economist Abel Kinyondo of the University of Dar es Salaam, whether the Starlink will have a significant impact or not depends on how quickly and inexpensively the company wants to provide its service.

“Internet is no longer a luxury, but a basic need. Its high speed and affordability could mean high speed and quick access to information,” he said.

He further explained, “If the service promises, it will help farmers get information about the weather and how to improve their harvests.”

Again, it will help traders run their online businesses and also receive training to push them to do better.

“This service will set a stage for the growth of the country’s digital economy,” he said, beaming optimism. His views were shared by an innovator and technology enthusiast, Mr. Jumanne Mtambalike, on the grounds that the Starlink internet service will boost the digital economy.

Mr. Mtambalike, who also serves as CEO of Sahara Ventures, said the service will shape diverse sectors from agriculture to education to healthcare. “I am optimistic that the Starlink Internet service will create an enabling environment for e-learning, e-health and research,” stated Mr. Mtambalike.

“Starlink’s Internet service will drive innovation and, with it, competition among private companies.

“The service will have a significant impact, especially in remote areas where the infrastructure is too poor to accommodate fiber optic cable.” Those people, he explained, will get the fastest internet because the speed is almost 150Mbps, and that is much cheaper compared to other satellite services.

Satellite internet was there before but was very expensive.

“So what Elon Musk is trying to do is make it affordable, and commendable indeed,” Mr Mtambalike said.

With the service, both users share the same infrastructure in space with $99 installation kits that can be deposited through the website.

On the other hand, Mr Mtambalike said depending on the license they are granted by TCRA, this will set the stage for stiff competition from local service providers.

In order for users to access Starlink internet service, they must mount a dish on a clear sky and have the Wi-Fi router, cables and base.

Internet access in many African countries is so slow that even people who can afford it still face some limitations when using it.