Botswana approves Starlink

Botswana granted a license to SpaceX’s Starlink unit, the latest African nation to allow the Internet services company to operate after it threatened to restrict services where it’s unlicensed.

Regulators in the southern African nation were asked to fast-track approval of the license, President Mokgweetsi Masisi said in remarks posted on his office’s official Facebook page.

The decision to grant the permit was taken after Masisi recently met Starlink executives in Dallas, he said.

“I gave them two weeks to fast-track this, and they have already been given a license,” Masisi said.

Starlink has been under pressure to cease operations in several countries where it isn’t licensed after reports revealed the extent to which the satellite network is being used outside of its authorised jurisdictions.

Last week, Zimbabwe announced it’s granted an operating license to Starlink.

The company, which services more than 2.6 million customers globally, delivers broadband Internet beamed down from a network of about 5,500 satellites that SpaceX began deploying in 2019.

Masisi said Starlink services are expected to become available in the country soon, helping farmers and others in remote areas connect when conventional fixed broadband is unavailable.

A spokesperson for the Botswana Communications Regulatory Authority declined to comment.

Despite the lack of an operating license in the country, some Internet users and service providers have publicly revealed their usage of Starlink’s services in Botswana using roaming kits.

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Botswana approves Starlink