SpaceX, an American aerospace manufacturer, is in talks with the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) to secure licences needed to launch Starlink, its internet satellite service in the country.
The company, founded by Elon Musk, the third-richest person in the world, according to Forbes, is in the process of launching a low-earth orbiting (LOE) constellation of satellites to provide low latency, high bandwidths internet to consumers across the globe and has identified Nigeria as a critical market.
“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”
The company has been in discussion with NCC virtually over the past several months to begin the process of bringing it to Nigeria.
Led by Ryan Goodnight, SpaceX’s market access director for Africa, and supported by Levin Born, a consultant, the company provided an overview of its plans, expectations, licensing requests and deployment phases at a meeting in Abuja, on Thursday.
Umar Danbatta, executive vice chairman of NCC, who was represented by Ubale Maska, executive commissioner of technical services, said the agency will work on necessary modalities to ensure that it balances the need for healthy competition with regard to 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,” he told the SpaceX delegation.
“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 licenses.”
He noted that the commission is interested in making necessary regulatory efforts to drive the coverage of rural, unserved and underserved areas of the country through the accomplishments of the lofty targets contained in the Nigerian National Broadband Plan (NNBP), 2020-2025.
Starlink is said to be ideally suited for areas where connectivity has typically been been unreliable or completely unavailable.