Starlink and the Maldives. A match made above the sky?.

Should local ISPs be worried?. Will or can the govt block it?.

This is the question that’s beating on the heads of many tech enthusiasts since the introduction of Starlink.

Let’s discuss what could be the ISP landscape in the country after Starlink starts the delivery of pre-orders to Maldives on 2022.

The big question. Can or will the government block it?

Telecom and ISP sector is tightly regulated by the government. The business license for ISPs are directly issued by the president himself. Therefore the president can easily decide not to issue any further licenses effectively blocking Starlink service to the Maldives.

But does Starlink require a specific ISP license from the Maldives?. Can’t they just beam the internet from above? Much like Airtel does?.

Well, Starlink could actually do that. But it would be ethically inappropriate for Starlink to do that especially when they are targeting a global audience.

Starlink specifically mention on their pre-order form that the service will be provided after regulatory approval. Hence it is unlikely for them to just beam internet down to everywhere on the planet.

Will the government block it?

Depends heavily on the quality of the service Starlink can sustainably provide.

If Starlink proves itself as a worthy competitor to Ooredoo & Dhiraagu it is highly probable that a major share of the corporate and top subscribers from the individual market segments will move to Starlink.

Such a change will not be tolerated by ISPs hence they will lobby to block Starlink from competing. And the govermenet will have no choice but to comply as Telco/ISP tax is one major income source for the goverment.

And so the answer to the question “will the government block it” is most probably a big YES.

Infact, the goverment has already teased it in the past few weeks discussing the upcoming price change of internet packages. However, this could be fake news.

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