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.
Matchmaking App Hawaya Lets Users Connect Based On Lifestyle Choices
Hawaya currently operates in 12 new countries, including Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, UAE, France, Germany, UK, Malaysia, Indonesia, the United States, and Canada.
Finding love is not easy, especially for singles in the Middle East, where conservative cultural norms don’t approve of any but the most traditional forms of matchmaking, which don’t seem all that appealing to many members of younger generations. But it’s not like young men and women in the Middle East are without modern options when it comes to finding the partner of their dreams. Hawaya, a Cairo-born matchmaking app, has recently celebrated 4 million users, and it’s now rolling out a feature that has the potential to expand its userbase even further: the ability to connect based on lifestyle choices with people from other regions.
Hawaya currently operates in 12 new countries, including Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, UAE, France, Germany, UK, Malaysia, Indonesia, the United States of America, and Canada. So far, it has resulted in 18,000 commitments, with 5,000 in Egypt alone.
“We’re seeing singles all over the region, women in particular, trusting in Hawaya to find their life partner more than ever before, which displays greater social acceptance for mobile matchmaking as an empowering tool for women to find their ideal life partner,” said Shaymaa Ali, Hawaya’s co-founder and Marketing Manager in the MENA region.
The new “Lifestyle Preferences” feature allows users to find their other half based on shared interests, likes, and dislikes. Users can now specify the geographic area they would like to explore, instead of always receiving matches that are located as close to them as possible.
“Through innovation, tech, and cultural respect, Hawaya prides itself to be a progressive app that aims to destigmatize the taboo of online matchmaking, and empowering women to take their time and spark a real connection with the love of their lives,” added Sameh Saleh, Hawaya’s founder and CEO.
Since the 2017 launch of Hawaya, social acceptance of online matchmaking in the MENA region has seen a measurable improvement, but there’s still a long way to go before all users of matchmaking apps like Hawaya won’t feel the need to hide their identities.