Sri Lanka updates telecommunications law to welcome Musk’s Starlink

The legislative change introduces three new types of licences for satellite internet service providers, one of which allows Starlink to apply as a licensed service provider pending regulatory approval.


Sri Lanka’s parliament amended an old law to permit Elon Musk’s Starlink, the satellite branch of SpaceX, to commence operations in the country. The original law did not permit satellite internet service providers to operate in the country, and according to a parliamentary statement, it is the first amendment made to the telecommunications law in 28 years.

Sri Lanka’s State Minister of Technology, Kanaka Herath, explained how the new telecommunications bill will create a license category allowing Starlink to apply as a service provider in Sri Lanka. The amendments will effectively introduce three new types of licences, one of which will enable Starlink to enter Sri Lanka’s telecoms market as a licensed service provider, pending approval from the telecoms regulator. Herath stated that Starlink had proposed setting up operations in Sri Lanka way back in March, and the country granted preliminary approval in June after expediting the process.

The minister also emphasised, ‘This opportunity is not just for Starlink but any other company that wants to invest in Sri Lanka’. Explaining their rationale, Herath explained that ‘We plan to grow the IT sector to a $15 billion industry by 2030. So we must attract international companies to provide internet, especially to rural areas.’