SpaceX will bring the internet to the Amazon through Starlink satellites

The Government of Brazil and the Executive Director of Spacex Elon Musk are negotiating a deal for the company to provide satellite internet in the Amazon and help detect illegal deforestation, authorities reported this Wednesday, November 17.

The Minister of Communications of Brazil, Fabio Faria, met this Monday, November 15 with the 50-year-old South African billionaire in Austin (Texas) so that Spacex Give your satellite internet service, through the Starlink company, to schools and health centers in remote areas, stressed from the Ministry.

“We are talking about environmental issues and connecting people in rural schools in Brazil. I am very excited to start a partnership with Starlink, with SpaceX and Brazil, ”said Faria in a video posted on Twitter after the meeting.

Musk, also founder and CEO of the automotive manufacturer Tesla, said for his part, “is willing to provide connectivity basically to the least served people in Brazil” and help “ensure the preservation of the Amazon”.

A ministry spokesman told AFP that the meeting was a “first approach” and that there is still no date to sign an agreement.

Starlink uses a “constellation” of more than 1,500 low-orbit satellites to provide internet service accessible from most of the planet, something that could include remote areas like the Amazon, 60% of which is in Brazil.

The service could be the start of a connectivity revolution in the South American country, where around 40 million people (19% of the population) lack internet access.

Faria said that the talks with the American company are aimed at bringing access to Internet to all rural schools, as well as to indigenous reservations and other remote areas.

The meeting comes at a time when the government of President Jair Bolsonaro seeks to combat international criticism that blames it for promoting an abrupt increase in the deforestation in the Amazon an area considered vital to curb climate change with its favorable discourse to extractive activities in protected areas.

Since the far-right president came to power in 2019, deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon has increased from an average of 6,500 km² per year, during the previous decade, to around 10,000 km², according to official data based on satellite images.