After launching its beta service to select customers across the United States and Canada, Elon Musk’s satellite internet constellation, Starlink, is set to launch in Lebanon as soon as 2022.
Last year, Lebanese computer science researcher Nadim Kobeissi asked Elon Musk on Twitter to position one of his satellites over Lebanon. His tweet quickly gained traction among other Lebanese Twitter users, many of which have to rely on slow and unreliable internet connections that are behind the rest of the world.
To everyone’s surprise, Musk replied, assuring Nadim that Starlink would provide global coverage. Well, it’s now clear that Musk was serious because pre-orders are already available with a fully refundable deposit of $99. The deposit will go toward the cost of the hardware kit ($499), the monthly service fee ($99 a month), and the shipping & handling fee (varies from region to region).
The fine print states that paying the deposit doesn’t guarantee availability. Instead, the deposit gives the payer’s order a higher priority in their region for ordering Starlink when it becomes available in the future.
Those who receive the Starlink kit can look forward to data speeds between 50 Mbps and 150 Mbps and latency from 20 ms to 40 ms, which is good enough for online gaming, high-definition streaming, and video conferencing. Both speed and latency are promised to keep improving as SpaceX, the company behind Starlink, launches more satellites and improves its software.
Already, around 1,000 Starlink satellites have been launched into orbit, but SpaceX has sought approval for tens of thousands more. Other private companies that are planning to launch satellite internet constellations include OneWeb, Amazon, Samsung, and Boeing.
At the moment, satellite internet access is aimed mostly at people living in rural and hard-to-reach locations, where wired connectivity has typically been a challenge. As the technology improves and the number of satellites in orbit increases, it’s possible that it will become a viable alternative to broadband internet even in otherwise well-connected areas.
It still isn’t clear whether or not the Lebanese government will formally allow the use of Starlink within the country as Ogero, Lebanon’s state telecommunications operator, doesn’t allow the use of Internet services that don’t pass through their network. It will be interesting to see what their take is on the matter.
LEAP 2024 Will Shine A Light On Female Innovators In Technology
Women comprise nearly a third of the event’s speaker lineup alongside a dedicated program of high-level content, investment, and mentorship.
LEAP 2024, a premier global technology event, will highlight the achievements of women in the technology sector as it returns for its third edition at the Riyadh Exhibition and Convention Centre in Malham district from March 4 to 7.
Hosted by Tahaluf, a strategic collaboration between Informa PLC, the Events Investment Fund (EIF), and the Saudi Federation for Cybersecurity, Programming, and Drones (SAFCSP), LEAP 2024 will feature a dedicated program titled “Women in Tech”. The program will offer enriching content, investment opportunities, networking sessions, mentorship programs, and a special startup award.
The initiative aims to inspire women to actively participate in the technology industry, aligning with broader diversity efforts. Reflecting the Kingdom’s commitment to equality, the focus on “Women in Tech” coincides with the increasing female participation at LEAP events.
Annabelle Mander, Senior Vice President of Tahaluf, emphasized the event’s commitment to gender inclusivity, stating, “Female representation is across all of LEAP’s features and reflects the event’s mission of driving economic diversification and providing market access to international business. Within Tahaluf itself, half of our team members are women, and women make up half of our SMT, too”.
The “Women in Tech” program will feature distinguished speakers including Nadine Hachach Haram, CEO and Founder of Proximie, and Sahar Albanarna from IMPACTIQUE Bahrain, who explained: “Over 26 million women worldwide with professional experience and degrees are not in the global workplace. This demographic includes a huge pool of untapped talent which technology can help unleash to fuel the co-creation of exponential solutions across multiple sectors. To help women access productive employment, we urge industry leaders to support high-impact female entrepreneurs as a means to boost their economies and accelerate the UN’s sustainable development goals by promoting inclusive and sustainable economic growth”.
The event will also provide a platform for female-led startups and entrepreneurs to pitch for funding and support through various initiatives such as the Women’s Investor Forum, Entrepreneur Mentorship Scheme, and the Aviatrix Award at the Rocket Fuel pitch competition, offering a prize fund of US$150,000.