COMMENT: Licensing of Starlink set to bring fresh hope for the country’s connectivity problems

THE announcement by President Mnangagwa that satellite internet service provider Starlink will be licensed has been a long-awaited beacon of hope for internet users in the country. The Internet has become a vital tool for communication, education and economic growth worldwide. However, the internet penetration rate in Zimbabwe is still low and widespread access has become a necessity.

The licensing of Starlink is set to bring fresh hope for the country’s connectivity problems, as the technology is expected to revolutionise internet access.It’s expected to disrupt the internet service industry in several ways. Starlink offers high-speed internet at affordable rates and uses a network of low-earth orbit satellites to provide internet services to remote areas that traditional internet service providers do not cover.

Starlink’s introduction is an opportunity to expand internet coverage in the country. Our country has struggled with internet coverage and speed issues for a long time. The existing service providers have been offering slow and unreliable internet service, leaving most people offline.
For many years, mobile network operators have enjoyed a near-monopoly in the Internet services market, which has led to high prices and poor service quality.

With Starlink entering the market, consumers will have more options to choose from, which will force traditional internet service providers to up their game and offer better services at more competitive prices.

Most people, especially in rural areas, have been unable to access the internet due to the high cost of data and lack of infrastructure. This has been a significant disadvantage, considering that the internet has now become an essential tool for everyday life practices.

Starlink’s entry into Zimbabwe could revolutionise internet access and coverage in the entire country. The technology’s satellite-based internet enables users to connect to the internet anywhere in the country, which is an exciting prospect for many Zimbabweans.

This will be a game-changer, especially in rural areas, where most people have limited or no access to the internet. It also means that more businesses and individuals can be included in the digital economy, which is an essential driver of economic growth in the 21st century.

Starlink will have significant potential benefits for the country’s economy. One of the most significant benefits is that the technology could drive more online businesses. Currently, most businesses in our country have been struggling to connect with customers and clients online.

With a reliable and fast internet service like Starlink, businesses can interact with clients from anywhere in the world. This will significantly expand their customer base, improve efficiency, reduce costs and increase profits.

The education sector will also benefit immensely. Most schools and tertiary institutions were forced to switch to online learning by the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020 and 2021, resulting in a massive shift in teaching.

Unfortunately, most students were not able to attend online classes due to poor network connectivity and a lack of infrastructure in some areas. Starlink’s fast and reliable internet service can change all that and allow students to connect and learn online from anywhere in the country.

The technology will harness significant benefits for the entire population, including reliable, fast and affordable internet connection. It will be a boost to the country’s economic growth, driving businesses and individuals towards a more digital environment.

The potential benefits of Starlink are enormous, and it provides a level of hope for our people, allowing them to connect freely with the rest of the world.


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