A fleet of SpaceX Starlink internet satellites is seen in this image poised for deployment in orbit from a May 24, 2019 launch. Image Credit: SpaceX

Islamabad: Starlink, the US-based satellite internet company, is planning to bring broadband connectivity to the rural regions of Pakistan with little to no internet services.

Starlink’s director of the Middle East and Asia Ryan D. Goodnight and the head of global site acquisition Ben Macwilliam visited Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) headquarters in Islamabad to meet the PTA chairman retired Maj Gen Amir Azeem Bajwa and other officials.

Starlink and PTA officials discussed in detail the provision of satellite broadband connectivity in Pakistan and Starlink’s future plans for connecting Pakistan to their global network. If approved, the initiative will connect rural communities to high-speed internet through a network of satellites.

Bajwa assured Starlink’s representatives of PTA’s support in line with the regulatory framework for operations in Pakistan. He also shared the prospects of broadband deployment in Pakistan to improve access to the internet in rural areas under the Digital Pakistan initiative.

More than 60 per cent or 132 million Pakistanis reside in the rural region, according to the 2017 census. Most of them do not have access to broadband speeds of at least 25Mbps. High-speed internet connectivity is essential to modern agriculture as well as for access to health care, government services, educational and business purposes.

Starlink, the satellite internet arm of the American aerospace company SpaceX, aims to bring high-speed internet to rural areas with their Starlink satellite internet service. Elon Musk’s satellite internet venture uses low orbiting satellites to bring internet to remote communities to enable access to education, health services and even communications support during natural disasters.