Optimism Swirls Around Elon Musk’s Starlink Approval in Nigeria, But Experts Doubt it

Optimism Swirls Around Elon Musk’s Starlink Approval in Nigeria, But Experts Doubt it

  • There is hope about the coming of Starlink's internet service into Nigeria which was approved by the Nigeria Communications Commission (NCC)
  • The Elon Musk-owned satellite internet provider has been a source succour to many countries around the world
  • Experts have deflated the hopes around Starlink, saying unless there is a policy change by the Nigerian government, disruption won't happen

The approval of Starlink, owned by Billionaire businessman, Elon Musk by Nigerian authorities has been hailed as groundbreaking and a great opportunity for businesses in the country.

Starlink will bring a different kind of internet connectivity into Nigeria, satellite internet, free from interruptions from the elements that usually plague broadband internet in Nigeria.

Starlink, Elon Musk, Internet, Nigeria, NCC
Starlink internet is coming to Nigeria but will it bring change? Credit: NurPhoto / Contributor
Source: Getty Images

Starlink brings hope around the world

Elon Musk’s Starlink is a huge relief to people around the world with limited access to the internet, especially rural dwellers.

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When Ukraine was unjustly attacked by Russia on February 24, 2022, critical infrastructures were attacked by Vladimir Putin’s rampaging forces.

An appeal by Ukraine to Elon Musk to beam Starlink into Ukraine to save the country from cyberattack was received with affirmation and Starlink berthed in Ukraine much to the chagrin of Putin and his hordes. It was a much-needed relief.

Reports said that Elon Musk announced that SpaceX’s satellite internet company, Starlink, is now providing internet service in Ukraine, following power outages caused by the Russian invasion that disrupted services in the Eastern European country.

The development came after Ukraine’s vice prime minister asked Musk on Twitter to help provide his country with the internet as Russian attacks intensified.

The same as telecom companies?

Starlink approval in Nigeria was done under the Internet Service Provider (ISP) category, the same category other internet service providers and telecommunication companies fall into.

That is where there is a snag, says Ikechukwu Ukah, an IT expert who says Starlink would be subjected to the same regulatory vicissitudes as other telcos, meaning Starlink won’t do much and will not bring the required disruptions.

Experts doubtful of opportunities

Ukah said:

“Internet won’t be cheap, though accessible but won’t be cheap.”

He said unless there is a shift in ideology by the Nigerian government to fully digitize its economy, the internet will still be as it has always been.

Ukah stated that the telcos and other providers are having a field day because the Nigerian authorities haven’t been paying the right kind of attention to the digital economy in the country.

“5G is coming but will not also do much unless there is a policy change by the Nigerian government that digital is the way to go. It has to be a deliberate policy by Nigeria. It has to be deliberate.”

Judge Ikpe told Legit.ng that he does not share in the optimism around Starlink coming to Nigeria, saying as long as it is going to be operated under the same category that the telcos operate under, there will be little success.

Ikpe said:

“The only way to cause disruption in the sector is for the government to create a special category for companies like Starlink who will beam satellite internet into the country.”

Recall that Legit.ng has reported that the world's Richest man, Elon Musk on Friday, 27 May revealed that after months of negotiation his company, Starlink has been approved to operate in Nigeria by the Federal government.

Musk’s Starlink is a satellite internet constellation operated by SpaceX, providing satellite Internet access coverage to 32 countries where its use has been licensed.

It is expected that Starlink provides high-speed, low-latency broadband internet across the globe. Within each coverage area, orders are fulfilled on a first-come, first-served basis.

Source: Legit.ng

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