Georgia approves Starlink services in Eastern Europe

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TAMPA, Fla. — Georgia became the latest country July 14 to approve SpaceX’s Starlink broadband constellation.

Starlink applied for permission to provide services in Georgia July 8 after meeting regulatory officials at the end of June, the Georgian National Communications Commission (ComCom) said.

“Starlink is especially important and interesting in mountainous regions as well as in settlements without broadband internet coverage,” ComCom said in a translated statement.

“After the introduction of Starlink, access to high-speed Internet in all such geographical areas will be available to anyone.”

According to the company’s availability map, SpaceX expects Starlink will be available across much of Georgia next year, apart from areas near the northern border the country shares with Russia.

Russia is among a group of countries listed on the map without a plan for Starlink services in the near term, along with Afghanistan, Belarus, Cuba, China, Iran, North Korea, Syria and Venezuela.

Starlink is available in more than 30 other countries and served nearly 500,000 users as of the last week of May, according to SpaceX CEO Elon Musk.

Georgia’s approval comes hot on the heels of Nigeria and Mozambique in Africa, and the Philippines which May 26 became the first country in Southeast Asia to approve Starlink. 

Starlink was originally due to launch services in the Philippines before former President Rodrigo Duterte’s six-year term ended June 30, Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez told reporters.

However, Lopez said the construction of a gateway in the country had been delayed.

Starlink’s availability map shows services in the Philippines becoming available in the fourth quarter of 2022.

SpaceX has launched more than 2,800 Starlink satellites to date to expand the low Earth constellation globally, according to astronomer and spaceflight analyst Jonathan McDowell.

The latest batch of 46 satellites launched July 10 on a Falcon 9. They are the first in a new polar-orbiting layer of 348 satellites for the Starlink fleet to improve coverage at high latitudes.

SpaceX is slated to launch its next dedicated Starlink mission July 17 from Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station, Florida.