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Elon Musk pays gratitude to SL President for greenlight to launch Starlink

By: Staff Writer

June 09, Colombo (LNW): Business magnet and the billionaire head of SpaceX and Tesla (TSLA) Elon Musk expressed his gratitude to President Ranil Wickremesinghe for the greenlight obtained to launch Starlink satellite internet services in Sri Lanka.

President Ranil Wickremesinghe posted a message on X saying the Telecommunications Regulators Commission of Sri Lanka (TRCSL) has given the green light for Starlink to launch satellite internet services in Sri Lanka, pending a two-week public consultation period.

“Much appreciated,” Elon Musk said in response to Wickremesinghe’s post on X.

Wickremesinghe said the development will revolutionise Sri Lanka’s connectivity, opening up new horizons, especially for Sri Lankan youth.

“With faster and more reliable internet, our youth can access global education resources, collaborate on innovative projects, and thrive in this new digital age. We will introduce relief packages for the education and fishing sectors,” he said.

The President said Starlink’s implementation will be transformative for Sri Lankans, especially those struggling to stay connected with reliable, high-speed internet.

“This advancement will significantly improve connectivity across the country, which is crucial for inclusion in the digital economy and maintaining communications in remote areas and during natural disasters,” he said.

Director General of the Sri Lanka Telecommunications Regulatory Commission, Madusanka Dissanayake, had said this week that the initial setup or the registration cost for the service will range from between US$ 400 and US$ 600, with a monthly fee of US$ 99

Musk is aggressively marketing Starlink around the world: He says that the service is now available in 99 countries. (In 2021, that figure was just 14.)

It isn’t yet available in South Asia, which is an especially attractive market due to its large and young population, its emerging technology sectors, and government pledges to ramp up digital economies. But financial, legal, and logistical constraints pose challenges that could hurt Starlink’s prospects in the region.

In the last few decades, internet penetration rates increased rapidly across South Asia. India and Pakistan rank in the world’s top 10 countries for total internet users.

However, this masks the massive number of South Asians—989 million people, including more than 683 million in India—who remain offline. Only 47 percent of South Asia’s total population uses the internet, according to DataReportal.

This presents an opening for Starlink, especially given that the service’s low-orbit satellites are intended to reduce connection problems and better serve remote regions, which Musk describes as a key investment target. Despite rapid urbanization in recent years, most of South Asia’s population remains in rural areas.

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