Minister of Science, Energy and Technology, Daryl Vaz, says he’s confident that Starlink which is owned by the world’s current richest man, Elon Musk, will be beneficial to Jamaica’s telecommunications landscape.
The government recently approved licences for Starlink to operate in Jamaica.
Starlink is owned by Musk’s SpaceX company and is the world’s first and largest satellite constellation.
The company uses a low-Earth orbit to deliver broadband Internet capable of supporting streaming, online gaming and video calls among other high-tech offerings.
Speaking to Loop News on Friday, Vaz said he’s had discussions with representatives of Starlink and highlighted Internet connectivity challenges being experienced in rural areas of the island post-COVID-19.
The technology minister says he’s optimistic that Starlink will be able to assist in addressing some of the challenges.
“I emphasised to them that it was really the underserved and unserved areas, specifically the rural areas that were having the major challenges coming out of COVID. I’m expecting to have further discussions with them,” Vaz said.
Responding to concerns that Starlink may be high-priced and out of the reach of most Jamaicans, Vaz said: “I know that there is a concern relating to price point but I’m sure they would have done their market research and studies to see what the competition in Jamaica was charging. I’m quite sure that they will come in and of course, it will be beneficial to the landscape here in Jamaica and of course, the price points will be affordable.”
Starlink is expected to enable Jamaicans to access the Internet through satellite transmission.
Starlink provides coverage to 40 countries. It also aims for global mobile phone service after 2023.
SpaceX started launching Starlink satellites in 2019.
As of September 2022, Starlink consists of over 3,000 mass-produced small satellites in low-Earth orbit, which communicate with designated ground transceivers.
In total, nearly 12,000 satellites are planned to be deployed, with a possible later extension to 42,000.
Starlink provides internet access to over 500,000 subscribers as of June 2022.