ISLAMABAD: A US-based global satellite broadband provider, Starlink, has shown interest in connecting Pakistan to its broadband services.
Headed by Starlink Middle East & Asia Director Ryan Goodnight, a delegation that also included its head of global site acquisition Ben Macwilliam on Tuesday met federal Minister of Information Technology and Telecom Syed Amin-ul-Haque and IT Secretary Dr Sohail Rajput.
They discussed the facilitation available to the private sector for investment in the country. The two sides also acknowledged that Pakistan needed strong satellite-based broadband in the areas that were inaccessible to fibre optics.
A plan to launch Starlink’s satellite broadband internet across Pakistan also came under discussion. Starlink Pakistan, which has already been registered in the country, is expected to open its office in Pakistan soon.
Satellite broadband network’s delegation meets minister
It will be the company’s first operation in South Asia.
Starlink is a satellite internet constellation operated by SpaceX providing satellite internet access to most part of the world.
SpaceX also showed interest in Space of Things and Internet of Things setup in Pakistan.
At the meeting, the IT minister mentioned with 40,000 schools, small and medium enterprises scaling up their digital presence in the country the broadband demand in Pakistan was on the rise. He said broadband connectivity was an attractive business model, while enhanced penetration in unserved and underserved areas was further increasing the number of internet users.
The delegation was briefed about Balanced Space Satellite Regime of Pakistan, which will facilitate the satellite services.
Mr Haq explained the IT ministry vision of “Broadband for All”. He said it was aligned with the Digital Pakistan vision of Prime Minister Imran Khan. He said it was aimed at widespread usage of internet in public sector, particularly the education sector.
Earlier, the team also visited Pakistan Telecommunication Authority chairman Amir Azeem Bajwa who assured them of PTA’s support in line with regulatory framework for Starlink’s operations in Pakistan.
Published in Dawn, December 15th, 2021