US-based space exploration company, SpaceX, has been in discussion with the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) over its plans to extend its Starlink satellite-based internet services to Nigeria.
SpaceX’s representatives, led by Starlink’s Market Access Director for Africa, Ryan Goodnight, and supported by the company’s consultant, Levin Born, presented an overview of SpaceX’s plans, expectations, and deployment phases during the meeting.
The company, during its meeting, which was attended by the Executive Vice Chairman (EVC) of NCC, Prof. Umar Garba Danbatta, also laid down its request for necessary license to enable it beam signals into Nigerian space.
Prof. Dantata, during the meeting with SpaceX representatives, stated that in light of disruption in the technology world, the NCC is keen on balancing healthy competition with entry of disruptive technologies to ensure sustainable telecoms industry growth and development in Nigeria.
The Executive Commissioner, Technical Services, at NCC, Ubale Maska, who stood in for the EVC, added that:
“As the regulator of a highly dynamic sector in Nigeria, the commission is conscious of the need to ensure that our regulatory actions are anchored on national interest. We have listened to your presentation and we will review it vis-à-vis our regulatory direction of ensuring effective and a sustainable telecoms ecosystem where a licensee’s operational model does not dampen healthy competition among other licensees.”
NCC executive commissioner also added that the plan to target 70% broadband penetration, and cover 90% of the population by 2025, is also in line with government expectations in the National Digital Economy Policy and Strategy (NDEPS), 2010-2030.
During the meeting, it was established that the NCC is interested in making necessary regulatory efforts to drive the coverage of rural, unserved and underserved areas of the country
SpaceX, which was founded by tech billionaire, Elon Musk, in 2002, developed Starlink. Starlink, which is a constellation of satellites, is in the process of launching a low-earth orbiting (LOE) constellation of satellites to provide low latency, high bandwidths Internet to all corners of the globe.
The company has identified Nigeria as a critical market, and is making moves to proceed with adding the country to the list of countries it services.
According to Wikipedia, Starlink has 1,625 satellites, and over 1,500 satellites orbiting the Earth. Starlink has acquired approval from the US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) for 12,000 satellites, and an additional 30,000 in the nearest future.