US aerospace company SpaceX, founded by Elon Musk, continues to expand the operations of its low-orbit satellite internet constellation Starlink across South America.
The latest country to authorize SpaceX to market and sell Starlink services is Paraguay, adding to Brazil, Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Peru, Colombia and Ecuador, among others.
“In an important step towards reducing the digital divide and promoting social inclusion, the board of the national telecommunications commission (Conatel) of Paraguay has granted … Starlink the license to provide data transmission service and internet access in the country,” Paraguay’s ICT ministry MITIC said in a statement.
This measure is part of the government’s vision to connect all regions of Paraguay, including the most remote areas, with broadband and low-latency internet services.
“This measure is part of the government’s vision to connect all regions of Paraguay, including the most remote areas, with broadband and low-latency internet services,” the ministry added. Large parts of Paraguay, particularly the west of the country, still have limited or non-existent connectivity.
Paraguayan President Santiago Peña welcomed the arrival of Starlink to the country, stating on Musk’s X platform, formerly called Twitter, that “Connecting our entire territory to the digital world is a fundamental step in achieving our government goals.”
Paraguay’s national telecommunications plan, approved last year and covering the period through 2025, outlines various goals for the sector and focuses on new targets with the longer-term aim of connecting at least 80% of the population by 2030.
The country is also looking to hold a 5G spectrum auction in the medium term.
Paraguay ended 2022 with 8.65mn mobile lines in service, up from 7.97mn in January that year, of which 6.73mn were prepaid accesses. Mobile penetration per capita reached 64.5%, according to Conatel.
The country also had over 738,000 fixed internet accesses at end-2022, up from 725,000 as of December 31, 2021, with penetration at just 10%.
Conatel does not disclose specific satellite connectivity figures.