The Botswana Communications Regulatory Authority (BOCRA) says it is still engaging with an application by Elon Musk’s Starlink and has not made a final decision on opening the country up to the billionaire’s satellite internet service.
In a statement on Wednesday, BOCRA did not mention Starlink by name, but said it had taken note of a media statement concerning a licence application by a “certain global satellite operator”.
The media reports, which broke out last week, claimed that BOCRA had rejected Starlink’s application for a licence to operate in the country. However, the telecom regulator’s director of Broadcasting and Corporate Communications, Aaron Nyelesi said the engagement process was ongoing in line with legislative provisions which mandate BOCRA to “protect and promote the interests of consumers,” amongst others.
He said while BOCRA was “not at liberty to discuss the details of a licence application with anyone else other than the applicant,” the regulator could confirm that it had not rejected any satellite licence application. In engaging on the interests of consumers, BOCRA will particularly pay attention to the “prices charged for, and the availability, quality and variety of services and products,” and where appropriate, “the variety of services and products offered throughout Botswana, such as will satisfy all reasonable demands for those services and products”. Musk’s Starlink has exploded in growth across the world, offering an alternative to many underserved or remote areas.