FIRST IMPRESSIONS

Starlink’s First Users In Africa Are Far From Pleased

By  |  March 9, 2023

Starlink—the satellite internet service developed by SpaceX, a company led by the controversial billionaire tech entrepreneur Elon Musk—is seeing the thrill that greeted its arrival on African shores dissipate. Starlink’s early users in Nigeria, its first African market where it launched this year, are seeing their excitement at copping the device give way to concern over its shortcomings.

The prospect of unlimited broadband internet with low latency and speeds of up to 300Mbps even in unserved far-flung locations, as well as the cool factor and lure of shiny new tech, drew a rising crop of Nigeria’s enthusiastic digital natives to Starlink. Service glitches and device limitations have stirred considerable disappointment, however.

“This is a screenshot from last night when it rained…Starlink wouldn’t even run the Speedtest,” tweeted notable Nigerian tech Youtuber, Fisayo Fosudo, who shared a screenshot showing a failed attempt to run a routine internet speed check on the service under rainy weather. This complaint has made the rounds on social media in recent weeks.

“Starlink is the real definition of ‘when it rains, it pours.’ The minute it gets cloudy and rains a little bit, that internet speed that everybody is so in love with is going to go kaput,” rising tech content creator, Kagan Tech, quipped in one of his recent videos sharing some of his reservations about the satellite-internet service.

Initial rave reviews from test-runs on Starlink spread organically in Nigeria, fuelling interest and patronage from locals, despite the pricey USD 600.00 cost which is far from affordable in a country with an average household monthly income that is 21 times less.

Nevertheless, there was also talk of the potential for Starlink to plug the huge connectivity gaps that keep millions of people unconnected across Africa.

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