The Communications Services Regulatory Unit (Ursec) evaluates the possibility that the company starlink of service satellite internet —property of billionaire Elon Musk— can offer this connection mode in Uruguay. The doubts are about the impact it will have on the local market, which recently operated under the monopoly of the state company. Antel.
The order was placed by the American company and is currently “under study” by Ursec. “Starlink is the world’s first and largest satellite constellation that uses low Earth orbit to offer Internet broadband capable of streaming, playing online, making video calls and more,” the company describes on its website.
At the moment, Starlink has launched 5,760 satellites to expand the coverage of its service, which in South America is already available in Chile, Brazil, Paraguay, Peru, Colombia and Ecuador. In Uruguay, meanwhile, the possibility of hiring satellite internet It will be available “starting in the third quarter of 2024.”
As explained by Ursec to Channel 5, the request made by the Musk It is going through the technical stages prior to the final study. Once these analyzes reach the directory, the request will be evaluated according to the technical recommendations and guidelines in telecommunications policyin conjunction with the Executive power.
In that sense, the decision about whether to enable Uruguay Starlink satellite internet service could be taken over in a couple of months.
Debates and impact around empowerment
Beyond the advantages that the service may present, satellite internet for users – according to the company itself on its website -, in Uruguay A debate is opening up about how the inclusion of this competitor in the local market could affect, where until recently Antel had a monopoly on the service.
In that sense, a few weeks ago, Ursec authorized cable operators to provide internet, as well as amazon to provide satellite internet to companies — while Starlink would do so to end users. The main difference is in the type of license sought: the company of the also billionaire Jeff Bezos obtained a communications license Class Cand Musk’s claim one of Class bwhich “enables the provision of telecommunications services, using as support the network, means or links of its own or that of another provider.”
This is what Ursec is currently studying, according to El País, which will also have the final decision on what will happen with the authorization.
In any case, there are doubts regarding the impact that Starlink’s entry may have in a market heavily covered by Antel. According to sources in the telecommunications sector, satellite internet is still “niche” and, therefore, more expensive than options already available such as optical fiber, Therefore, a large effect is not expected at the level of clients and income, being a “complementary” service to that offered by the public company.
For the Antel union, Sutel, Meanwhile, the arrival of Starlink “will be a danger for everyone.” “If Antel is not allowed to develop, it will have problems not only with Starlink, but also with a cable in the interior,” considered the president of the union. Gabriel Molina
For the union member, “concrete measures must be taken to defend Antel,” which does not mean “going backwards technologically.” “You cannot do things as crazy as they have been doing, without looking to the side and without considering that, in the future, Antel must have a space to continue developing with all the technology,” said the head of Sutel. .