Sri Lanka approves law allowing Musk’s Starlink operations

  • Sri Lanka’s parliament has amended its telecommunications law for the first time in 28 years, allowing Elon Musk’s Starlink to set up operations as a licensed service provider.
  • The amendments aim to attract international companies to grow Sri Lanka’s IT sector to a $15 billion industry by 2030, with a focus on providing internet access to rural areas.

Sri Lanka amends its telecommunications law to welcome Elon Musk’s Starlink, aiming to enhance internet access, especially in rural areas. This move is poised to transform the nation’s digital landscape, supporting its goal of growing the IT sector to a $15 billion industry by 2030.
–Jasmine Zhang, BTW reporter

What happened

Sri Lanka’s parliament approved amendments to a decades-old law on Tuesday, allowing Elon Musk’s Starlink to set up operations in the country. The new telecommunications bill, which amended the existing law for the first time in 28 years, passed without a vote.

These amendments will introduce three new types of licenses, enabling Starlink to enter Sri Lanka’s telecom market as a licensed service provider, pending approval from the telecoms regulator, said Technology Minister Kanaka Herath. Previously, the law had no regulations for satellite internet providers.

“This opportunity is not just for Starlink but any company that wants to invest in Sri Lanka,” Herath told lawmakers. “Our plan is to grow the IT sector to a $15 billion industry by 2030, so attracting international companies is crucial, especially for providing internet to rural areas.”

Starlink approached Sri Lanka in March, receiving preliminary approval in June after a fast-tracked process. Starlink will have to pay a tariff for the license, although details were not provided.

Also read: Unleashing connectivity: Starlink and Comcast’s joint satellite deal

Also read: Starlink gets approval for operations in Zimbabwe

Why it’s important

Sri Lanka’s decision to amend its telecommunications law to welcome Elon Musk’s Starlink is a game-changer for the island nation. This move signifies more than just a regulatory update; it’s a bold step towards digital transformation. By embracing satellite internet, Sri Lanka is positioning itself as a forward-thinking hub for technology and innovation. This is crucial for bridging the digital divide, particularly in rural areas where internet access has been limited.

Starlink’s entry could catalyse significant growth in Sri Lanka’s IT sector, aligning with the ambitious goal of becoming a $15 billion industry by 2030. This isn’t just about better internet speeds; it’s about creating opportunities for education, business, and healthcare across the island.

Moreover, Sri Lanka’s swift approval process sets a precedent for other nations, showcasing the benefits of regulatory agility in attracting global tech giants. In an era where connectivity is paramount, Sri Lanka is making a strategic move to secure its digital future.


Jasmine Zhang

Jasmine Zhang is an intern reporter at Blue Tech Wave specialising in AI and Fintech. She graduated from Kunming University of Science and Technology. Send tips to

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