Burundi’s Digital Leap: How Starlink’s Satellite Internet Could Change the Game

starlink satellite


Burundi is amongst the African countries set to benefit from Elon Musk’s Starlink technology in 2023. If this actually happens, starlink technology would be a game-changer in Burundi’s Economy as access to reliable internet connections would allow the country to bridge the digital divide, improve economic growth, education, and innovation.

Starlink is a satellite internet system that uses Low-Earth-Orbiting (LEO) satellites and self-adjusting receiver dishes to provide internet speeds from 50Mbps to 200Mbps almost anywhere on Earth.

This cutting-edge technology promises to revolutionize how Burundians connect to the internet, offering faster and more reliable access than ever.

However, Starlink’s implementation in Burundi is not without its challenges. One is obtaining government permissions, which may be complicated but necessary before installing Starlink receivers. Another one is ensuring affordability and accessibility for most Burundians who live below the poverty line.

Despite these hurdles, Starlink can transform Burundi’s digital landscape and benefit its people. Some of these benefits include:

  • Faster and more reliable internet connection supporting streaming, online gaming, video calls, and more. This can counter the countless dissatisfaction of Burundian internet providers, who sometimes do not even seem to tranquilize their clientele or give them new hope for the future.
  • Wider coverage that can reach remote areas where terrestrial networks are not available or feasible.
  • Increased competition and innovation in the telecom sector, as we have witnessed the closing of two companies, Tempo and Smart, and the merging of Leo and Econet. This would be an immense opportunity for Burundians, who sometimes feel they have no choice but to deal with the current offer.
  • Enhanced social and economic development that can boost education, health care, entrepreneurship, and e-government, which have been the priorities of the Burundian Government.

Burundi is among many other African countries in its quest for better internet access through Starlink. Our neighbors – Rwanda –  have already implemented it. On 22 February 2023, Starlink officially started its operations in Rwanda.

On the inauguration’s day, Paula Ingabire, the Rwandan Minister of ICT and Innovation, emphasized that “Access to high-quality broadband is no longer a luxury but a necessity in today’s digital age. By launching Starlink services in Rwanda, we are taking a significant step forward in our commitment to creating a smart nation that promotes inclusivity, advances the digital society, and boosts the digital economy…”

Nigeria became the first African country to adopt Starlink’s tech with the intention to provide faster internet access to areas currently underserved or unserved by traditional land-based internet services.

Elon Musk’s Starlink technology is finally a promising solution to the internet connectivity problems in Burundi. It comes with a unique offer and an opportunity for Burundi to leapfrog into the digital age and catch up with its regional peers. However, it also requires careful planning, coordination, and regulation to ensure that it serves the best interests of all stakeholders involved.

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Iris News is a generalist Burundian media with 6 editorial aggregates that articulate the bulk of its information offer: Entrepreneurship, Ecology, EAC, Youth, Culture and Sport. Iris News, a media from the future defines itself as « The media of possibilities » designed to help young Burundians shape a prosperous and environmentally friendly Burundi.