Starlink, owned by billionaire Elon Musk, looks set to provide satellite Internet services to more than half-a-dozen countries across Latin America.
The Spacex subsidiary recently obtained permission from telecom regulators in Colombia and Peru to offer the service. The news comes months after Starlink launched its services in Chile.
Reports suggest that Musk’s firm will expand the service to Peru, Ecuador, Argentina, Paraguay and Panama by the end of this year; and Bolivia, Costa Rica and Guatemala by 2023.
Established in 2019, Starlink has a fleet of more than 3,000 low-earth-orbit (LEO) satellites, far more than most of its rivals such as Viasat and HughesNet. In addition, LEO satellites increase Internet speed.
Musk’s firm can provide an average download speed of 142Mbps, compared to 10.6Mbps by HughesNet and 16.3Mbps offered by Viasat. In Chile, Starlink has been able to provide an average download speed of up to 119Mbps.
However, satellite Internet is far more expensive and less reliable than fiber optic cables. Starlink reportedly charges US$99 per month, plus US$549 for the satellite dish and a router.