In an innovative undertaking, Elon Musk’s Starlink satellite service is set to be deployed in Rwanda, bringing high-speed internet access to the most underserved communities in East Africa.
According to the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) report, Rwanda has a high uptake in ITC growth, and is developing Africa’s first wireless broadband network covering the entire country.
In schools, Rwanda has made a concerted effort to improve internet connectivity and promote the use of technology in education.
The government launched the ‘Smart Classroom’ initiative to equip every classroom in the country with a computer and internet access, in collaboration with Starlink. Teachers will also be trained to use technology in the classroom.
Starlink is a satellite internet service provided by SpaceX, a company founded by Elon Musk.
Starlink’s pilot program in Rwanda is expected to begin this week for 500 schools in remote areas whose internet accessibility is limited. The first users are expected to be officially connected by 2024.
‘Starlink’s high-speed internet will offer Rwanda an opportunity to close the digital divide, improve the connectivity of underserved communities, and transform the country into a regional technology hub,’ said Paula Ingabire, Rwanda’s Minister of ICT and Innovation.
The service operates by using a network of low-orbit satellites that are constantly orbiting Earth, providing coverage to even the most remote areas.
The deployment of Starlink in Rwanda is expected to have a significant impact on the country’s economy and education, as it will enable more people to access online resources and participate in the global digital economy.
‘Starlink will be a game-changer for Rwanda’s education system, enabling students to access online resources, attend virtual classes, and participate in global research collaborations,’ said Patrick Nyirishema, Director-General of the Rwanda Utilities Regulatory Authority.
The move is part of Rwanda’s broader efforts to promote technology and innovation. Rwanda has been at the forefront of digital transformation in Africa, with initiatives such as the Kigali Innovation City, a hub that has attracted international attention.
The country looks to lower internet costs, provide accessible tech-related skills, and empower future careers.