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SpaceX In Talks With NCC To Launch Satellite-Based Internet In Nigeria

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Elon Musk’s US-based Space exploration company, SpaceX said it is working with the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) to secure the required licenses to launch Starlink, its satellite Internet service, in Nigeria. Starlink’s Market Access Director for Africa, Ryan Goodnight along with SpaceX consultant, Levin paid a visit to the NCC during which they discussed the possibility of obtaining licenses to operate the satellite internet in the country. It appears that SpaceX had been in many virtual discussions with the NCC for several months, and both parties finally agreed on a face-to-face meeting to deliberate the project’s prospects in the country.

“SpaceX has been in discussion with NCC virtually over the past several months to begin the process of pursuing all necessary licenses to bring Starlink, its satellite-based broadband services, to Nigeria.

“Having made substantial progress in the discussion, the commission granted SpaceX’s request for a face-to-face discussion to gain better insights on the prospects of their proposal,” Goodnight said.

At the meeting, SpaceX team provided an overview of its plans, expectations, licensing requests, and deployment phases. However, the NCC noted the need to ensure there is healthy competition to protect other players in the telecoms space especially with the introduction of new technology.

The NCC noted that its decision on SpaceX’s proposal will be made in line with its regulatory duties to ensure healthy competition among telecom companies in Nigeria.

After the presentation by SpaceX delegation, the Executive Commissioner, Technical Services, NCC, Ubale Maska, who stood in for the EVC, said NCC will work on necessary modalities to ensure that it balances the need on necessary modalities to ensure it balances the need for healthy competition vis-à-vis the entry of new technologies, in order to protect all industry stakeholders.

“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 an effective and sustainable telecoms ecosystem where a licensee’s operational model does not dampen healthy competition among other licensees,” Mr. Maska told the SpaceX team.

Founded by Elon Musk in 2002, SpaceX develops Starlink, a mega constellation on Satellites to bring commercial Internet services to people across the globe. As of April 2021, SpaceX had launched over 1,400 Starlink satellites.