Elon Musk’s Starlink could attain global coverage soon

Valentine Muhamba Avatar
Starlink 1300 satellites, coverage

Looking over the comments on our previous articles on Starlink (and on social media), I can safely say that Elon Musk’s Starlink has a strong community in Zimbabwe. And Starlink fanboys and girls will be happy to know that the service will soon have internation coverage according to SpaceX executive Gwynne Shotwel

“We’ve successfully deployed 1,800 or so satellites and once all those satellites reach their operational orbit, we will have continuous global coverage, so that should be like September timeframe,”

Gwynne Shotwel, SpaceX CEo via Reuters

The constellation of 1,800 is a drop in the ocean when we look at the 12,000 that the ISP has been given the green light for by regulators. That total number might look like overkill but according to research by MoffettNathanson, 12,000 might not even be enough to properly service the continental United States.

At best the constellation can serve between 300,000 and 800,000 homes which is a far cry short of the aspirations the service has to replace conventional fibre as the method the whole world can use to access the web.

I am one of the very many critics of Elon Musk’s Starlink. That isn’t to say that I think the service won’t work but it may be under capacity to fulfil the orders that it has received. Back in May, Elon Musk said that Starlink has received half a million preorders.

If we are to go by what MoffettNathanson said then Starlink is almost at capacity (or over it). Be that as it may, Starlink fans are not deterred and some are even willing to shell out the money for the service before it has been proven to work in their area.

Local regulatory approvals are yet another hurdle

Even though Starlink preorders are open worldwide (and yes including Zimbabwe). The satellite internet service has only got the go-ahead to operate in a fraction of the markets that it intends to serve. According to CNBC, Starlink has gotten approval from local authorities in Austria, Australia, Argentina, Brazil, France, Chile, Colombia, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Mexico, the Netherlands, New Zealand, the Philippines, South Africa and Spain.

As far as we know, Starlink is yet to approach Zimbabwe’s Postal and Telecommunications Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe (POTRAZ) to register as an ISP in the country. So you might want to holster that US$500 that it will take you to get the equipment.

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