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Can Starlink Get the Worlds Lowest Internet Adopters Online?



The following content is sponsored by Scottish Mortgage Investment Trust

The Briefing

  • Only 63.1% of the world’s population has access to the internet, dropping to 45.8%, in rural communities.
  • Starlink, a SpaceX Company, uses a constellation of low-orbit satellites to provide the world with high-speed internet access. 

10 Countries With The Lowest Internet Adoption Rates

Did you know that despite all of the latest technological advancements, a whopping 3 billion people still have no access to the internet?

In this infographic sponsored by Scottish Mortgage, we take a look at countries with some of the lowest internet adoption rates around the globe and explore how Starlink—the satellite internet constellation owned by SpaceX—is well-positioned to fill the gaps in the market.

Dead Zones in Rural Communities

A nation’s internet adoption rate is partially driven by the number of rural residents. Here is a table using data from the World Bank (2021) showing the 10 countries with the lowest internet adoption rates:

2021 Internet Adoption Rate (%)
1🇧🇮 Burundi Africa5.8%
2🇺🇬 UgandaAfrica10.3%
3🇨🇫 Central African RepublicAfrica10.6%
4🇪🇹 EthiopiaAfrica16.7%
5🇲🇿 MozambiqueAfrica17.4%
6🇹🇩 ChadAfrica17.9%
7🇲🇬 MadagascarAfrica19.8%
8🇵🇰 PakistanSouth Asia21.0%
9🇿🇲 ZambiaAfrica21.2%
10🇧🇫 Burkina FasoAfrica21.6%

Most countries at the lower end of the adoption rate scale have high rural populations. For example, 60% of Pakistan’s population lives in rural communities.

A viable solution is necessary to address this issue and achieve the UN’s objective of providing safe and affordable internet access to all by 2030.

Unlike conventional internet providers who rely on hundreds of miles of cabling, one company uses a constellation of low-orbit satellites to provide the world with high-speed internet access. 

Enter Starlink

Starlink’s service now covers much of the world’s lowest internet adopters. The company claims the service will become available in Zambia, Chad, Mozambique, and Burundi later in 2023. The company also plans to launch in Burkina Faso and Uganda in 2024.

Even though it has one of the highest adoption rates, the U.S. is not currently fully covered by Starlink. This is planned to change by the end of 2023 when Starlink will complete its U.S. rollout. Similarly, Starlink recently received its license to operate in South Korea making the satellite internet service available in over 50 countries. 

Providing the World with Internet

Starlinks’ ambition to “end mobile dead zones” has driven much of their work, growing their subscriber base from 10,000 when first launched in 2021, to over a million by the end of 2022.

As one of Scottish Mortgage’s pioneers of digitisation, Starlink, a subsidiary of SpaceX, is well-positioned to provide high-speed internet services in nearly every country with a low internet adoption rate. 

Want to invest in transformative companies like SpaceX? Discover Scottish Mortgage Investment Trust, a portfolio of some of the world’s most exciting growth companies.

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