Internet access is expected to increase in Sierra Leone as the West African nation has now become only the 5th African country to issue license to Starlink, the satellite broadband service from SpaceX.

“This is a huge step forward in achieving the goal of universal connectivity across the country and for transforming education,” Sierra Leone’s Minister of Basic and Senior Secondary Education (MBSSE), David Sengeh said.

The country’s National Communications Authority (NATCA) is said to have granted license to Starlink after “extended technical evaluations”.

Starlink is set to begin full operations with 100 percent access to their network to be available in coming weeks.

Sierra Leone has one of the least accesses to internet in the world.

According to DataReportal, internet penetration stood at 32.4 percent with 2.67 million users. This means that 67.6 percent of locals in the country do not use the internet.

On the flip side internet users in the country increased by 12.5 percent between 2021 and 2022. In simple terms, there were 296,000 new internet users in the country between 2021 and 2022.

Early in 2023, there was widespread condemnation after mobile operators in the country increased data charges by over 100 percent.

That prompted presumptions that internet usage could slump in the country.