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What business is Elon Musk coming to the country to do?

The news of the completion of the authorization process of the companies of Yosatellite internet Starlink, Amazon Kuiper and OneWeb It had a lot of impact in the last few hours. Many voices talk that it will compete with fiber optic companies; others say it is “a triumph for Milei”. But, in reality, neither of the two statements would be so accurate, which reflects that very few know What is the real business they come to do in Argentina and what is the process of entering the broadband market?

Let us remember that the National Communications Entity (ENACOM) authorized these three technology companies to operate in the country and offer web service via satellite. He did so through four resolutions signed by the agency’s auditor, Juan Martín Ozores, and published this Monday in the Official Gazette.

It is true that, at the end of December, Javier Milei had announced the deregulation of satellite internet services “to allow the entry of a company like Starlink”, which is the global satellite internet services company which he founded in 2015 Elon Musk. In this sense andDecree 70/2023, which was ultimately not approved by Congress, included in its Chapter II modifications to the Argentine Digital law (Law No. 27,078) and established that “the provision of facilities for satellite communications systems will be free.”

Starlink in Argentina: an approval process that takes years

However, just as he warns Martín Becerra, CONICET researcher and university professor, expert in cultural industries and telecommunications“the approval process was carried out during different administrations (Peronists, Macrista and the current intervention) of ENACOM”, so it is striking that, from the ruling party, and even President Milei, they hang the laurels of this news , which is the product of a long approval process.

Nevertheless, Milei may be proud to lead the management that, finally, made the landing of Satrlink in Argentina possible. But, on the other hand, it is key to clarify what business you are coming to do in our country given that searches on the web on how to hire the service immediately multiplied.

What should be noted is that these companies do not have a product offering directly aimed at the end consumer. “The market niche of these companies is not home connectivity, but rather they are oriented towards rural and semi-rural areas and corporate markets.“, details Becerra in this regard.

What business is Elon Musk coming to Argentina to do?

And it is that, This type of connectivity has a price offer much higher than that of fixed connections that urban centers have. “Consequently, its eventual insertion into a mature market starting next year will be important for very specific segments, not massive in scale,” he explains.

“In our country There are more than three million rural and suburban homes that do not have good quality and affordable Internet access services.a product of the limitations of the terrestrial networks of traditional telecommunications operators,” he analyzed Pablo Mosiul, founder and CEO of ORBITH (company that operates in this segment) to this medium.

Throughout the history of the broadband in Argentina, many cooperatives, local cable providers or municipalities have covered the section known as “last Mille” so that more remote locations, with little population or unattractive for large companies would have access to the Internet.

What is the last mile and how does satellite Internet serve?

And Mosiul explained that “The application of this technology is to bring high quality broadband to cities where fiber will never reach and it can be for home use, such as for agricultural, engineering, oil or tourism companies.”

So, any location that is far from an urban center who has difficulties accessing the Internet because it is not possible, nor profitable in many cases, to arrive with terrestrial wiring, can access the Internet with satellite technology.

Is a tool that, in many cases, helps advance in this sensesince it allows an oil company, for example, to have Internet coverage in a remote station, only by contracting this service, without the need for fiber optics to arrive, only with an antenna that lowers the satellite signal.

That’s why, It is much cheaper and easier than laying fiber to provide connectivity to large areas, but much more expensive than cable internet in urban centers that already have fiber access.

In fact, regarding the approval of companies’ entry into the market, ENACOM highlighted the role of satellite connectivity by pointing out that “many places in the country have access to the Internet prohibited” and that now “People and companies in agricultural activities, tourism developments, oil, fishing, mining and educational activities, among others, will be able to access high-speed connectivity via satellite.”

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