FG engages Musk’s Starlink on local content, job creation
The Federal Government of Nigeria has engaged Elon Musk’s Internet service provider, Starlink, on the possibility of setting up programmes that will create jobs in Nigeria through local maintenance and production of its hardware.
The Minister of Communications, Innovation and Digital Economy, Dr Bosun Tijani, disclosed this at the weekend, saying the discussions happened on the sideline of the ongoing International Telecommunication Union-World Radio Communication (ITU-WRC) Conference in Dubai. Tijani said he met with the Senior Director of Global Licensing and activation of SpaceX, Ryan Goodnight, on the issue.
The minister said the discussion centred on how Starlink could create a programme to certify local installer and maintenance personnel in Nigeria as well as award contracts for hardware start-ups in the country to produce Starlink’s repeater boxes locally.
Announcing the discussion via a post on his X handle, the Communications Minister, tweeted: “Excellent conversation with Ryan Goodnight, Snr. Director, Global Licensing and Activation of SpaceX on the sidelines of ITU-WRC 23, who shared that Nigeria is their biggest market in Africa. As demand for Starlink continues to grow in Nigeria, we spoke about the issue of connecting unserved and underserved Nigerians. I also mentioned the possibility of creating thousands of new jobs in Nigeria through initiatives like a certified installer/maintenance programme for Starlink and working with hardware start-ups to produce repeater boxes locally.
“We intend to encourage every tech company to invest and deepen our tech ecosystem.” The minister added that Starlink has declared Nigeria as its biggest market. Recall that Stalink’s operation officially started in January 2022 in the country and since then Nigerians have been pre-ordering its hardware.
As of June 2023, Starlink Nigeria’s customer base stood at 6,756. To gain more customers, Starlink, last month, slashed its hardware costs by 21 per cent as it pushed to gain more share of the Nigerian ISP market.
With the price slash, Starlink’s hardware cost was reduced to N299,500 down from N378,000 it was being sold before. However, the monthly subscription to be paid remained unchanged at N38,000 per month.
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