It has been reviewed by the former information minister Juanfran Muswere that Zimbabwe's telecommunications regulatory body POTRAZ is currently reviewing an application by Elon Musks STARLINK to operate in Zimbabwe and is likely to be approved.
“What I remember is that they submitted their application for licencing and POTRAZ was still going through that application… Of course we want to see it approved,”.
“It’s not possible to have fibre-optic cables across the country. It’s a reality that we need satellite technology for communication purposes." Muswere said during a meeting with editorial executives of privately-owned media organisations.
This revelation shows POTRAZS intentions and commitments towards satellite internet technology, as well as accessible internet in the country.
However, concerns have been expressed about the service's regulations and commitment to closing the digital gap in the country.
These concerns came after the regulatory body released a public notice regarding the regulations that govern the use of satellite broadband last month.
Amongst its regulations, one law that has caused the public to question the body and its commitment to bridging the digital divide is that end users of the service, like providers, will be forced to obtain a license. A decision with apparent downsides that should be examined.
"End users can apply for private network licences which would authorise the utilisation of externally operated Satellite systems.” read the statement released by POTRAZ.
When end users are required to obtain licenses, it will result in higher costs for both service providers and the end users themselves. As a result, satellite internet services will become less affordable, especially for individuals and businesses in underserved areas who already struggle with financial limitations.
POTRAZ's decision to license end users has negative consequences. It restricts access, limits competition, and adds financial burdens. This action worsens the digital divide and hampers the transformative power of satellite internet connectivity.