Starlink makes a debut in Africa

Starlink satellite internet service connects African countries, but not South Africa due to regulatory policies and restrictions, posing a significant challenge for investors, and impacting the continued digital divide

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Elon Musk’s Starlink satellite internet service has already connected several African countries, including Mozambique, Rwanda, and Mauritius, with 19 more African countries scheduled for launch in 2023 and 2024. However, South Africa, the continent’s largest internet-consuming nation, is not among them. According to Starlink’s availability map, several of South Africa’s neighbours will get Starlink either this year or next. While there may be several factors at play, regulatory policies and restrictions are suspected to be at the forefront of this technological exemption.

The fact that South Africa is not included in the list of countries set to receive Starlink’s global satellite internet service is a cause for concern, and the continued digital divide could be the most significant impact of Starlink’s absence in South Africa. Launching satellite internet through Starlink could help bridge this divide by providing access to high-speed internet in areas where traditional infrastructure is inadequate, spurring entrepreneurship and innovation in the country, creating jobs and boosting the economy.

Several of South Africa’s neighbours, as well as other parts of the continent, will be able to access Starlink in 2023 or 2024, according to the availability map for the service. Reference the map, the service will go live in Zambia, Angola and Kenya in Q2 2023, and release dates for 16 nations, including Egypt, Ghana, Tunisia, and Uganda, are set for 2024.