Elon Musk’s Starlink internet to be rolled out in schools in Rwanda


NAIROBI, Kenya - The Rwandan public schools and tertiary learning institutes are set to benefit from starlink internet services .

Billionaire Elon Musk owns the satellite-based internet service provider. Rwandan Minister of ICT and Innovation, Paula Ingabire revealed that the pilot plan will see at least 500 schools.

Starlink's service is scheduled to be up and running in Rwanda by February 22, according to the Minister. Starlink is a satellite network developed by American spacecraft company SpaceX, to provide ‘low-cost’ internet to remote locations.

Early February, the Rwanda Space Agency (RSA) announced that it had issued a license to Starlink, satellite internet constellation, to operate in the country, with its operations due to begin in the first quarter of 2023, before the end of March.

“Among the services we are undertaking, which we agreed upon with Starlink last year [2022], we are going to start with at least 500 schools so that at least such internet will be tested, and distributed there,” Paula said.

In response to lawmakers’ concerns over its affordability, Ingabire pointed out that, overall, based on its huge capacity and high speed, entities that need a lot of internet are the ones targeted by Starlink internet pilots.

Information from RSA indicates that Starlink’s services are expected to increase the level of broadband competitiveness in the country as end-user services will cost$ 45 per month for a bandwidth of up to 150 megabits per second (Mbps).

For enterprises, the bandwidth can go up to 350 Mbps.

Ingabire said the capacity being provided will be affordable for larger entities such as health facilities, a market where there are many people who can benefit from it, schools or public institutions.

Fast and affordable internet, according to educationists, is changing the way we live, work, and learn. Among others, it helps in learning and discovering various sources to get the latest information. Students also carry out relevant research to increase their knowledge and get necessary study materials, which are crucial for their academics.

Starlink's service comes at a time when the government is also working to connect about 3,000 schools that are not connected to the internet by 2024 through financing from China Exim Bank and the World Bank.


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