Environment Minister: Talks ongoing regarding Starlink access in Maldives

Environment Minister Aminath Shauna responds to questions at the Parliament on March 7, 2022. (Photo/People's Majlis)

Environment, Climate Change and Technology Minister Aminath Shauna told the Parliament on Monday that talks with tech magnate Elon Musk’s SpaceX regarding providing Maldives with access to high-speed internet through the Starlink satellite internet constellation remain ongoing.

Environment Ministry held a meeting with representatives from tech magnate Elon Musk’s SpaceX on February 13.

Shauna met with SpaceX’s Starlink Market Access Director Ryan Goodnight on February 13.

According to the Environment Ministry, discussions during the virtual meeting focused on SpaceX’s plans to provide high-speed, low-latency broadband internet across the globe using their advanced satellites.

Shauna, who was summoned to the Parliament to answer questions by parliamentarians on Monday morning, was asked by Velidhoo MP Mohamed Abdulla Shafeeq regarding when Maldives was expected to receive Starlink internet coverage.

Shauna said that SpaceX had asked the Environment Ministry not to disclose the details regarding the meeting at this time, but that talks with the company remained ongoing.

“Talks remain in progress. They have asked us not to disclose details regarding the discussions until the talks conclude,” she said.

Shauna repeated her earlier statement that the government did not have any plans to block Starlink in Maldives.

To connect to the Starlink satellite service, users will need to purchase a special Starlink kit that includes a mountable dish antenna, a Wi-Fi router, and a power supply, and pay a monthly fee.

According to Starlink’s website, the company expects to provide internet coverage in Maldives in 2023.