Sri Lanka set to amend decades-old law to pave Starlink entry

By Uditha Jayasinghe

COLOMBO (Reuters) – Sri Lanka’s parliament will vote this week to change a law to allow Elon Musk’s Starlink, the satellite unit of SpaceX, to set up operations in the South Asian island nation, a Sri Lankan minister told Reuters on Monday.

Under the new telecommunications bill, once it is passed in parliament, Sri Lanka will introduce a new license category that will allow Starlink to enter the country’s telecommunications space as a licensed service provider, said Kanaka Herath, the state minister of technology.

“This is the first time in 28 years we are amending the Telecommunications Act,” he said by phone.

“The change will enable issuing of three new types of licenses, one of which will allow Starlink to have a license to provide internet connectivity.”

The legislation will be submitted to parliament on Tuesday with a vote likely later the same day.

Starlink approached Sri Lanka in March with a proposal to set up operations, Herath said. Sri Lanka granted Starlink preliminary approval in June after fast-tracking the process.

Starlink will have to pay a tariff for the license, which will be issued by the country’s telecommunications regulator, Herath said, declining to provide details of the payment.

“There are lots of challenges to constructing telecom towers but Starlink can increase internet access faster, particularly in rural areas and support economic growth,” he said.

(Reporting by Uditha Jayasinghe; editing by Sudipto Ganguly and Chizu Nomiyama)


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