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Starlink launches in Panama; receives Guatemalan licence

24 May 2023

Panama is the latest country to receive connectivity from Starlink, the Low Earth Orbit (LEO) satellite broadband provider backed by Elon Musk’s SpaceX venture. The development was confirmed last week, via Starlink’s official Twitter account. According to paperwork from the National Public Services Authority (Autoridad Nacional de los Servicios Publicos, ASEP), Starlink Internet Services Panama was granted a concession to provide ‘Internet Service for Public Use’ on 20 June 2022. Curiously, on 19 August 2022 the watchdog rejected Starlink’s request for a licence to provide ‘Telecommunication Service by Low Orbit Satellites’.

Elsewhere in Central America, Guatemala’s Superintendence of Telecommunications (Superintendencia de Telecomunicaciones, SIT) has issued an ISP licence to Starlink Internet Services Guatemala. The concession was awarded on Friday 19 May. An official press release noted: ‘The government of Guatemala, through the Ministry of Communications, Infrastructure and Housing, and the SIT, has worked hard to make possible the introduction of Starlink in the country. This initiative seeks to provide equal opportunities to all Guatemalans, eliminating the barriers that exist in internet access and promoting socioeconomic development.’

SpaceX currently has around 4,000 satellites in orbit, with plans to launch 42,000 in total. To date, more than 50 countries are known to have authorised Starlink to offer fixed broadband connectivity.

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