Starlink, the company owned by the electric vehicle tycoon and space travel pioneer Elon Musk has been authorized by Colombia’s Ministry of Information Technologies and Communications (MinTIC) to operate in the country with satellite internet. The authorization was granted under the country’s new Satellite Regime that seeks to encourage new players in the Colombian market with competitive rates and service to reach remote communities.
Starlink recently obtained authorization to operate in Peru. Operations in both South American countries are expected to start in 2023. Space X, Starlink’s operator, has launched more than 3,000 satellites into orbit and can now beam broadband service to large parts of South America.
Starlink’s entry in Colombia will also strengthen the implementation of new technologies such as the Internet of Things (IoT) or 5G. “In our route to close the digital gap from all points of view, the arrival of a new company in our country will mean a substantial improvement in the way in regions are connected,” stated MinTIC’s former Minister Carmen Ligia Valderrama.
The authorization for the use of the spectrum granted to Starlink may also be used for the provision of satellite radio communications services. Access to satellite communications in many of Colombia’s remote territories will help connect the digital divide given that building cellphone towers and laying fiber cables in rugged terrain, or through rainforest, will no longer be necessary. The island nation of the Philippines is also working towards universal satellite access with Starlink.
Starlink was launched in 2019 with a fleet of mass-produced low Earth orbit (LEO) satellites, and currently counts with more than 500,000 subscribers worldwide. The company plays a key role in assisting Ukrainians stay connected during the Russian invasion of their country, as well as provide Ukraine’s Armed Forces with satellite technology to operate drones and keep front line networks operational.