The Maldives government has licenced Starlink, SpaceX’s high-speed internet service provider (ISP), allowing the company to offer its services within the country.

Starlink is touted by SpaceX as the world’s first and largest satellite constellation using a low Earth orbit to deliver high-speed, low-latency internet to users all over the world.

The service is expected to offer speeds of between 50Mbps and 300Mbps, with the Maldives footprint listed to go live in ‘Q4 2023’ – quality can vary depending on geographical location.

While service delivery has generally been regarded as stable, Starlink has seen price increases, reportedly as much as 20 percent within one year, with no other significant upgrades. There are also reports of lower performance in some geographical locations as some areas experienced slight, but inconsistent, increases in speeds.

Starlink has further faced criticism from the astronomical community with their low orbit satellites causing light interference to highly sensitive telescopes while radio astronomers now also have to account for interference from Starlink’s radio-based antennas. According to the International Astronomical Union (IAU) expressed concerns in a statement released in June 2019 saying, “Satellite constellations can pose a significant or debilitating threat to important existing and future astronomical infrastructures, and we urge their designers and deployers as well as policy-makers to work with the astronomical community in a concerted effort to analyse and understand the impact of satellite constellations.”

Starlink’s foray into the Maldives, as a fourth ISP, will undoubtedly widen the service offering in the country – while it could arguably provide the fastest internet speeds nationwide, monthly subscription costs would remain largely competitive compared to those by the incumbent service providers.

SpaceX and Starlink are owned by the billionaire Elon Musk, who also owns X, previously known as Twitter.