Starlink, SpaceX’s project that involves deploying thousands of satellites to space for internet access may be coming to Kenya.
If you check the order page and input a Kenyan location like Nairobi, Starlink gives you this notice:
“Starlink is targeting coverage in your area in 2022. Availability is limited. Orders will be fulfilled on a first-come, first-served basis.”
The Starlink constellation of satellites is one of the many interesting things that Elon Musk’s company, SpaceX is working on. Their goal with Starlink is to deliver high speed and low latency broadband internet across the world.
Currently it is on beta and they claim that users can expect to see data speeds vary from 50Mb/s to 150Mb/s and latency between 20ms and 40ms. That is really good for satellite internet and competes favorably with fixed data broadband that people have locally like fiber connections. Currently, there are 1035 Starlink satellites with plan to deploy nearly 12,000 more this year. They also plan to extend that number to 42,000 satellites that orbit in different heights.
In order to use Starlink, you will need equipment to connect to the Starlink satellites in space. The Starlink kit has the Starlink dish, mounting tripod, Wi-Fi router, power supply and cables. The dish, which they call the Starlink terminal is of particular interest since as per Elon Musk’s tweet, it has motors to self orient for optical view angle with satellites.
If the 2022 deployment of Starlink is true, this may be a gamechanger worldwide. Elon Musk said that Starlink will serve the hardest to serve customers that telecommunications companies otherwise have trouble doing with landlines. This could be a better bet for governments to serve the underserved, like in Kenya with the failed Google Loon partnership.
The biggest problem will be cost. Currently, it costs $99 (Kshs 10,900) for a deposit for selected regions in the beta and will charge you $499 (Kshs 54,775) plus tax for the Starlink kit mentioned above. The service itself costs $99 (Kshs 10,900) a month. This costs could change in the future