Starlink to roll out in third quarter

Source: The Herald – Breaking news.

Starlink to roll out in third quarter 
Posts and Telecommunication and Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe director general, Dr Gift Machengete, said satellite services would go a long way in enhancing internet service provision.

Zvamaida Murwira-Senior Reporter

GLOBAL satellite-based internet service provider Starlink is set to roll out its service in Zimbabwe during the third quarter of the year and is expected to revolutionise the information communication and technology service in the country, through high speed and increased coverage to areas that had over the years been excluded.

It’s entry will see Zimbabwe joining a select group of African countries using high-speed, low-cost broadband internet services, after Government at the weekend approved the licencing of Starlink.

The licencing requirements are now being worked out.

The approval demonstrates the Second Republic’s commitment to achieve a fully digitalised, upper middle income economy by 2030, which leaves no place and no one behind.

In an interview, Posts and Telecommunication and Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe director general, Dr Gift Machengete, said satellite services would go a long way in enhancing internet service provision.

“With regard to Starlink, they have indicated in their application that they will roll out service in the third quarter of the year. That is what they have said. In their application they will provide backhauling connectivity and they can also enter into commercial arrangements with local players.” 

Dr Machengete said there were a lot of advantages that could be derived from satellite telecommunication service providers.

“Satellite service providers provide high-speed internet services. There will be areas that they will be providing services that have not had the service, like the rural areas, where there is no optic fibre.” 

Backhaul is a telecommunications term that refers to the process of carrying data from a smaller, local network to a larger, more powerful network. It is the network infrastructure that powers the Internet.

It serves as an intermediate between the main network and the small networks used for distribution to other smaller channels.

 Owned by South Africa-born American billionaire, Mr Elon Musk, Starlink is an internet system that uses low-earth orbit satellites, which allow almost instantaneous connections and far lower power than the signal lags and higher power requirements of geostationary satellites.

The Government announced at the weekend that it had approved the licencing of Starlink by Potraz.

In an interview at the weekend, Information, Communication and Technology, Postal and Courier Services Minister, Dr Tatenda Mavetera, said they were both technical and economic benefits for Zimbabwe from the coming in of Starlink.

She said in terms of backhauling connectivity, existing and future sector operators can utilise Starlink services for cheaper access, especially in remote places that are currently difficult to service using fibre or cell towers.

Dr Mavetera said there will be an increase in e-commerce activity across various value chains — that include business to customer, Government to citizen, business to business and Government to business.

Other benefits she cited include economic growth, as an increase in Internet access has a direct impact on a country’s Gross Domestic Product. 

“There will be better service delivery by Government — in schools and hospitals, Government has an opportunity now to provide Internet coverage in remote places at a lower cost. Tax revenue — increased digital transactions will result in a direct increase in tax revenue for the Government, which, in turn, will result in better service delivery,” she said.

Starlink is currently officially offered in a few African nations, including Nigeria, Mozambique, Zambia, Kenya and Malawi.