Five Nigerian libraries gain free access to Starlink 

The Gigabit Libraries Network and the National Library of Nigeria has signed an agreement to ensure that five public libraries gain free access to Starlink’s LEO satellite broadband system.

In a statement made available on the GLN website on Tuesday, the network noted that the five libraries selected would be the first set of libraries to have such connection on the African continent.

“The Gigabit Libraries Network, today announced an agreement with the Nigeria National Library to outfit five public libraries as users of SpaceX/Starlink’s LEO satellite broadband system. These are the first libraries to have such a connection on the continent.

“Working in partnership with the African Library and Information Associations and Institutions to initiate a set of five pilot projects in Abuja and Lagos, the library sites will be part of a wider study on capabilities and potential benefits of this innovative and potentially revolutionary communications capability that can reach almost anywhere on the planet.

“In many African communities, the library is the only place to access free and/or cheap Internet. Getting libraries connected to fast, stable and affordable Internet, can be the only link between young people and opportunities; between learning new skills and making the mark for better employment prospects and between access to information that can debunk rumours and falsehoods.” The statement partly reads.”

The PUNCH reports that Starlink now delivers broadband service in forty-five countries and more nations granting operating permits with Nigeria becoming the first in Africa to see service launched.

Implementation of LEO technology appears to be yielding faster connection speeds with lower latency than traditional geostationary satellite based services, though with outstanding questions of capacity over time as more users participate.

“There are many things to learn about how these new systems can serve towards closing the persistent global digital divide as well as integrate into the wider telecom ecosystem. Being essentially impervious to power and/or internet outages, these space based connectivity systems increase community resilience against extreme weather disaster events,” says Don Means, GLN Director.

Traditional communications infrastructures rely on terrestrial networks of wires and towers extending out from the internet backbone. As that distance increases so do the costs of provision making end user services typically less affordable and therefore less likely to even be built.

LEO systems combined with the myriad services of public or community libraries, together respond to the three primary barriers to adoption which inhibit access for some three plus billion people worldwide. Those barriers include availability, affordability and usability according to GLN’s “LEO Libraries” overview.

Starlink hardware with 24 months of service had been donated by the company in support of community access at public libraries.

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