Starlink: “1m users in Mexico”
May 24, 2023
By Chris Forrester
SpaceX’s Starlink is building community-based high-speed access to the internet by supplying its satellite kit to rural populations. In Mexico, where some half of the population have no Internet access, it is installing equipment for the Mexican federal government’s ‘Internet para Todos’ (Internet for all) scheme. It is available at more than 3,000 locations, says Starlink, and usage is now measured at more than 1 million.
Starlink says that with an average community size of about 337 users per location, Starlink is connecting around 1 million people across Mexico using this scheme alone. However, given that it is a ‘free’ service at the point of usage it is not completely clear whether this installation base is convertible into hard cash for Starlink.
Also, Mexico is seen as a vibrant ‘hot spot’ for may satellite operators. Globalsat, for example, is already working with Starlink. In February, it said it had connected 250 communities and was targeting 1,100 more “in the coming months”.
According to data from the National Institute of Statistics and Geography of Mexico (INEGI) for 2022, only 56.5 per cent of Mexico’s rural population has Internet access. “Because it can be deployed quickly with less infrastructure than fibre solutions, the government selected Starlink to be implemented in communities across the nation, and Globalsat, a Mexican telecommunications company with more than 25 years of experience, will help implement Starlink service in a portion of the selected communities,” says Globalsat.
But Starlink is not alone in Mexico. Eutelsat and SES are also active. Eutelsat has highlighted its major role in the Internet para Todos connectivity programme, alongside three leading Mexican service providers, including Apco Networks and Globalsat. Eutelsat is currently providing them with capacity on its Eutelsat 65 West A satellite, aimed at connecting Mexican rural schools through the installation of internet access points.
SES is using its SES-17 craft, and working with the Mexican federal agency CFE Telecomunicaciones e Internet scheme which selected SES to deploy more than 1,100 broadband hotspots. This target is in addition to the 1,000 ‘free hotspot’ sites services by SES-15 in 2022.
These Wi-Fi hotspots are installed in strategic places such as public squares, community spaces, schools and hospitals throughout the country to guarantee reliable Internet access for the entire population, especially for the most remote regions and underserved communities.