SpaceX Announces Nigerian Operation, First In Africa

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The Space Exploration Technologies Corporation, SpaceX on Monday announced that it has commenced the operation of Starlink services in Nigeria, the first African country to receive such.

Starlink is a satellite internet constellation operated by SpaceX launched in 2019. It provides satellite internet access coverage to about 46 countries, which is also targeting the global mobile phone service after 2023.

“Starlink is now available in Nigeria – the first African country to receive service!” a tweet posted on the official page of the satellite firm read.

SpaceX is an American spacecraft manufacturer, launcher, and satellite communications corporation headquartered in California.

It was founded by Elon Musk, the billionaire owner of Tesla and the microblogging site Twitter, with the aim of reducing space transportation costs to enable the colonisation of Mars.

Although Starlink’s internet services have been said to be accessible from any part of the country, bridging the existing internet connectivity gap across rural communities in Nigeria where other network operators could not deploy their services, analysts say that the high cost of Starlink may prevent many Nigerians from accessing this service.

Last week, Nigeria’s Communications Minister, Isa Pantami, while presenting the scorecard of President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration in the ICT sector, hinted that the country achieved 100 per cent broadband coverage following the licensing and operation of SpaceX’s Starlink.

“Based on the National Broadband Plan, we were to have 90 per cent broadband coverage by December 2025. However, we recently gave a licence to Starlink to provide services and this has given us 100 per cent coverage, about 3 years ahead of schedule,” the minister said.