Home Science Technology Starlink Launches in Sierra Leone, Promising Enhanced Internet Connectivity

Starlink Launches in Sierra Leone, Promising Enhanced Internet Connectivity

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Elonstarlink
Elonstarlink

Sierra Leone has joined the ranks of African countries connected to Starlink, the satellite broadband service developed by California-based SpaceX, founded by Elon Musk.

This development marks a significant step towards achieving universal connectivity in Sierra Leone, according to David Moinina Sengeh, the country’s Minister of Basic and Senior Secondary Education and Chief Innovation Officer.

With an internet penetration rate of only 21.2% at the beginning of 2023, leaving approximately 6.85 million people without internet access, Sierra Leone faces significant connectivity challenges. The country’s median fixed internet connection speed stands at 11.60 megabytes per second (Mbps), considerably lower than the global average of 58 Mbps.

Minister Sengeh expressed optimism that Starlink’s entry into Sierra Leone would not only reduce the cost of internet services but also make them accessible to every Sierra Leonean. He stated, “While the general service will commence soon, I have been testing it so far with great satisfaction.”

Starlink’s deployment in Sierra Leone is part of its broader expansion into Africa. Nigeria was the first African country to experience Starlink’s satellite-based internet service in January 2023, followed by Rwanda, Mauritius, and Mozambique. Starlink’s Low-Earth Orbit satellites, positioned approximately 550 kilometers from Earth, offer coverage to remote areas without the need for expensive land-based telecom towers or subsea fiber cables.

However, the advanced technology comes at a cost. In Nigeria, for instance, the Starlink kit and installation cost approximately $600 upfront, with a monthly subscription fee of about $43, presenting a financial challenge for many Nigerians and potentially for Sierra Leoneans as well, given the country’s minimum wage of $40.65 per month.

As Starlink expands its presence in Africa, it brings the promise of enhanced connectivity and access to the digital world for millions across the continent, including those in Sierra Leone.

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