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Sri Lanka telecom regulator in talks with Elon Musk’s Starlink over satellite internet

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Sri Lanka’s telecommunications regulator on Monday said that it has initiated preliminary engagement with Elon Musk’s Starlink exploring possibility of introducing the satellite-based internet services in the island nation.

The Telecommunications Regulatory Commission of Sri Lanka (TRCSL) said the first round of discussions focused on the regulatory aspects and prerequisites of initiating the service in the near future for Sri Lanka.

“Preliminary engagement was initiated with SpaceX in exploring the introduction of Starlink Internet Services in Sri Lanka and the first round of discussions focused on regulatory aspects and prerequisites of initiating the service in the near future for Sri Lanka,” the TRCSL tweeted.

The Director General of TRCSL Mr. Oshada Senanayake also tweeted saying the first round of discussions was positive.

Starlink, the satellite internet division of billionaire Elon Musk’s rocket company SpaceX, is one of a growing number of companies launching small satellites as part of a low-Earth orbiting network to provide low-latency broadband internet services around the world, with a particular focus on remote areas that terrestrial internet infrastructure struggles to reach.

Starlink is currently available in 21 countries in mostly public beta tests.

The company this month also registered its business in India, company documents filed with the Indian government showed, as it gears up to launch internet services in the country.

Low Earth orbit satellite technology reportedly offers a unique combination of affordability, speed, flexibility, ease-of-setup and a 27-millisecond low-latency bandwidth to deliver a superior online experience.

Sri Lanka ranks 120th in the world for mobile internet speed and 118th in terms of fixed broadband, according to the Speedtest Global Index. In August 2021, Sri Lanka’s mobile download speed stood at 16.02Mbps, just four spots below India, and its fixed broadband speed is way below at 26.05Mbps, according to global internet speeds tracker Ookla.

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