Amazon, founded by Jeff Bezos in 1995, just claimed a major victory by getting regulatory approval to create Kuiper, a planned fleet or constellation of 3,236 of internet-beaming satellites.
If realized, Kuiper would compete with Starlink, a similar yet potentially much larger fleet of 12,000 to 42,000 satellites many times the number of spacecraft humanity has ever launched being formed by SpaceX, the aerospace company founded by Elon Musk.
On Wednesday, the FCC’s five commissioners unanimously voted to permit Amazon to launch its Kuiper fleet into space and communicate with Earth-based antennas, giving the project the paperwork it needs to get off the ground.
“We conclude that grant of Kuiper’s application would advance the public interest by authorizing a system designed to increase the availability of high-speed broadband service to consumers, government, and businesses, the FCC wrote in its order, released on July 30.
In a subsequent announcement by Amazon on Thursday, the company pledged to invest “more than $10 billion in its effort to provide “reliable, affordable broadband service to unserved and underserved communities around the world.”
“A project of this scale requires significant effort and resources, and, due to the nature of [low-Earth orbit] constellations, it is not the kind of initiative that can start small. You have to commit, Amazon said.
That amount, incidentally, is precisely what SpaceX COO Gwynne Shotwell estimated in May 2018 as the cash it may take to complete Starlink.
Pantami Moves to Tackle $2.16bn Capital Flight from Telecoms Sector
$2.16bn Leaves Telecommunications Sector Yearly
The Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Isa Pantami, has put the total capital flight from the telecommunications sector at $2.16 billion per year.
A large part of the total amount comes from those renewing and purchasing software licenses, domain subscriptions and renewals, and cybersecurity.
The minister said to stem the trend, the ministry has developed a policy to promote local content in the sector.
In his speech at the digital day celebration, Pantami said the Indigenous Content Development and Adoption, under Pillar #8 of the National Digital Economy Policy and Strategy (2020 – 2030), would tackle the issue.
Pantami said, “As part of our efforts to promote indigenous content, we have developed a policy for promoting indigenous content in the telecom sector to complement similar efforts that focus on the information technology sector.
“This is important to stem the tide of capital flight, among other things. A report of the Association of Telecommunication Companies of Nigeria suggests that such capital flight in the telecom sector is as high as $2.16bn annually.
“A healthy digital economy requires a robust indigenous content policy to significantly reduce this.”
Pantami stated that there was an urgent need to promote and support the development of indigenous content in all sectors.
He explained that the Indigenous Content Development and Adoption pillar was addressing this for the digital economy.
“This pillar aligns with Executive Orders 003 of May 2017 and 005 of February 2018, on ‘Support for Local Content Procurements by Ministries, Department and Agencies of the Federal Government of Nigeria,” he said.
Speaking on broadband, the minister said the Nigerian National Broadband Plan (2020-2025) was created to speed up the growth of broadband connectivity in Nigeria.
Pantami said, “The plan is designed to deliver data download speeds across Nigeria of a minimum 25Mbps in urban areas, and 10Mbps in rural areas, with effective coverage available to at least 90 per cent of the population by 2025.
“This will be at a price not more than N390 per 1GB of data (two per cent of median income or one per cent of minimum wage).”
Nigeria’s Fintech Startups Raised $122 Million in 2019
Financial Technology Startups in Nigeria Raised $122 Million in 2019
Financial Technology (fintech) startups in Nigeria raised a combined $122 million in 2019, according to the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE).
Mr. Olumide Bolumole, the Divisional Head of Listings Business, NSE, disclosed this while speaking on the fintech industry and its growth in recent years.
“The Fintech industry in Nigeria continues to gain increasing popularity after taking the lead in Africa and attracting $122 million in funds in 2019.
“At the exchange, we recognise the opportunity to provide a platform where players in the Fintech landscape can have easier access to right-sized capital to fulfil their organisational objectives.
“The NSE is, therefore, committed to developing multiple solutions to address the needs of the Fintech community in Nigeria such as the provision of the NSE Growth Board.
“The exchange will also prioritise collaborations with organisations such as FinTechNGR to ensure solutions from this webinar are implemented for the benefit of the sector,” he said.
However, with just about 200 fintech companies in Nigeria, the sector is still young and just emerging with room for growth, considering the fact that most Nigerians are still unbanked.
Fintech Companies Raised $554 Million in Investment Last Week
Financial Technology Firms Raised $554 Million Investment Capital Last Week
Financial Technology (Fintech) companies raised a combined $554.17 million from investment rounds last week.
A data compiled by Finbold showed the top 25 fintech firms were led by Razorpay and Wealthsimple.
Razorpay, a payment platform, raised $100 million to account for 18.04 percent of the total amount raised during the week. This was followed by Wealthsimple’s $87 million.
Deepwatch came third with $53 million while NYDIG and M1 Finance came fourth and fifth with $50 million and $45 million, respectively.
Other noteable fintechs include Extend $40 million; FOSSA $30.55 million; +Simple $23.75 million; Finexio $23 million; and Sonrai Security $20 million.
On the other hand, Evolve Credit was the last among the 25 companies. It raised $0.025 million while Upside Saving raised the second least fund at $0.42 million. Also, they were the two firms that raised below $1 million in the week under review.
Oliver Scott, a Finbold editor, who spoke on funding in the fintech sector, said “Notably, venture capital is still the primary source of funding for fintech startups. However, new trends indicate a high level of private equity and debt financing. Additionally, more funding activity is concentrated around later funding rounds. The sector is also witnessing a rise in IPOs and acquisitions. Such trends are pointing to a maturing market.”
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