Advanced Television

Malaysia wants Starlink for colleges?

July 18, 2023

Malaysia’s prime minister Anwar Ibrahim recently had a video conference with Elon Musk about his SpaceX broadband service. The end result is a likely order to equip some of the country’s colleges and schools with a Starlink service. But first the system must be formally licensed.

Communications and digital minister Fahmi Fadzil said there are 3 per cent of populated areas don’t have access to the internet and they have discussed installing Starlink’s equipment in these rural areas.

However, local sources say that SpaceX/Starlink is not yet licensed to operate in Malaysia.

One problem, and not unusual in Malaysia, is that technology companies need to have 100 per cent local ownership. Malaysia currently has foreign investment restrictions on the percentage of shares a foreign entity can own as part of a licence condition.

SpaceX, to date, has been seeking nominal deposits of $99 from Malaysian potential users of Starlink. SpaceX has said that it expects to provide service to Malaysia this year.

There are already real competitors to Starlink and established players. For example, Malaysia’s MEASAT satellite reportedly has connected more than 4000 locations with its ConnectMe Now’ satellite service.

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