Elon Musk's Starlink Internet not licensed in India: Govt
01 December 2021
The Elon Musk-backed satellite internet company Starlink Internet Services, is facing hurdles to expansion into India as the government is insisting on a licence to do business in the country. Government of India has issued a public advisory saying that Starlink is not licensed to offer satellite-based internet services in India. The government has also asked the company to refrain from booking/rendering satellite internet services in India "with immediate effect".
Government has instructed the public not to preorder Starlink, SpaceX’s satellite-based internet service, as the company needs to obtain a licence to operate in the country before it starts deploying its services.
“Public is advised not to subscribe to Starlink services being advertised,” a tweet from the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) reads. The DoT also says it asked Starlink to refrain from “booking / rendering the satellite internet services in India.”
As things stand, Starlink will have to put all preorders on hold until it can get approval from the Indian government.
Starlink faced scrutiny from the Indian government in April, after the Broadband India Forum (BIF), an independent policy forum that represents Big Tech companies like Amazon, Google, Microsoft, and Facebook, complained about the presale of Starlink devices without a licence. DoT since began examining whether Starlink’s beta rollout broke India’s telecom laws.
However, Starlink officially got registered in India on 1 November and has already secured over 5,000 preorders from prospective subscribers here.
Starlink plans to deploy 200,000 devices in India by 2022, with 80 per cent located in rural areas, according to a Reuters report.
So far, Starlink has managed to garner around 140,000 beta users in 20 countries, according to a PCMag report.
Musk expects Starlink to have over 500,000 customers by next year, provided India opens doors.
SpaceX has been accepting pre-orders for the beta version of the service at a fully refundable deposit of $99 (around Rs7,400) for almost a year now. Starlink India director recently said that the company is exploring collaborations in India with telecom companies.