Elon Musk’s Satelite Broadband Internet company Starlink got the green light to operate in Jamaica, making its first entry into the Caribbean market and becoming the 3rd satellite broadband company in Jamaica.
Starlink a subsidiary of Musk’s SpaceX business provides satellite Internet access coverage to 40 countries after only 4 years in business. SpaceX has some 2,700 satellites in the global network, with a monthly base price of US$110 to more than 400,000 subscribers. The company also aims for global mobile phone service after 2023.
Why it matters.
Jamaica’s Internet access market has long been a duopoly of service providers in Flow(Cable & Wireless and Digicel) and consumers have often called for competition that would give them a choice in service, reliability, and prices, especially in rural and underserved areas.
Why this is great for consumers
Better speeds than a dial-up connection – Satellite connections are generally more reliable and faster than a dial-up internet connection.
Instant installation – The deployment and installation of satellite connections are quite fast. It does not require any sort of construction and the entire set including a WiFi router, tripod mount, and power supply can be installed fast at your request.
Quick recovery time post-disaster – Since the connection requires a clear sky to communicate with the satellite in space, bad weather can affect it. However, your satellite connection recovers as soon as the weather stabilizes.
Increase in the number of satellite internet providers – Currently, there are two other companies in this satellite broadband internet sector – ReadyNet owned by former Cable & Wireless/Lime Chairman Chris Dehring offers, and the other player Neptune Communications owned by Jamaican Brian Bennett-Easy and Barbadian Julian W. Jordan.
Why this is not so great for customers
Tight data restrictions – Satellite connections enforce data limits generally, which means that you will have to keep a tight check on your data during the monthly cycle in order to avoid getting extra expenses. This also means that you might face bandwidth throttling by the end of the month.
Weak signal during bad weather patches – Satellite internet, while reliable at most times, can lose all its credibility during bad weather patches. Since this internet service depends on satellites, if there is a storm or snow in your area, you might not be able to connect with the satellite in space.
At the end of the day… the choice is great for consumers and the market decides what becomes successful.