(Ecofin Agency) - Nearly 90% of Burundi's population has no access to Internet services, according to DataReportal. The Burundian government aims to bridge this gap as part of its digital transformation.
SpaceX has begun talks with the Burundian authorities to launch its Starlink satellite Internet services in the country. A delegation from the US firm was given an audience by President Evariste Ndayishimiye, on September 19. The meeting took place in New York, on the sidelines of the 78th UN General Assembly.
According to its official website, Starlink plans to launch its services in Burundi in the second quarter of 2024. The company specifies that the availability of its commercial services in the country is subject to regulatory approval.
Starlink's low-orbit satellite constellation should enable the government to accelerate coverage of the entire Burundian population with high-speed Internet connectivity, including communities living in remote rural areas that are difficult for telecom operators' terrestrial networks to access. In addition, the Agence de Régulation et de Contrôle des Télécommunications (ARCT) plans to launch commercial 5G in the country from July 2024.
According to statistics from the DataReportal data platform, Burundi had 1.33 million Internet subscribers in January 2023, for a penetration rate of 10.2%. The number of cell phone users was 6.99 million, with a penetration rate of 53.5%.
Isaac K. Kassouwi