For 20+ years, my company, AeroNet, has provided Internet access to the Puerto Rico market. Utilizing mostly Fixed Wireless Access technology, we offer urban and rural broadband connectivity to many small businesses and residents.
I have to admit that SpaceX Starlink’s service entering the Puerto Rico market is a bit unsettling but extraordinary at the same time. Let me explain:
It is unsettling because the local broadband market is very competitive.
Two predominant telecom companies serve the local market, Claro and Liberty PR. Liberty recently gobbled up the local AT&T wireless and fixed operation, nixing one competitor and growing in size. T-Mobile also competes in the local broadband market with its hotspot service. Those three giants make up over 70% of the local customers, then over 50+ smaller operations compete against the big guys and each other for a 3.2 million population market. Adding another competitor to the mix takes a market share from the existing base, especially one with big pockets such as SpaceX.
It is extraordinary for two reasons:
Even with the competition in the local market, there are still some pockets where service is lacking or non-existent, especially in the island’s rural areas where connectivity is needed for remote learning and remote work opportunities. The recent pandemic highlighted these needs, and I’m glad that there are alternatives to fill those needs.
Two, competition fuels creativity, efficiencies, and the betterment of companies who are not afraid of it. I see Starlink’s entry into our market as a huge opportunity to grow as a leader, strengthen our company, and continue our prolonged success in connecting Puerto Rico.
Bring it on, Elon!