Elon Musk’s Starlink caves in to Indian govt’s warning, to apply for licence by Jan 2022

WION Web Team
New Delhi Published: Dec 04, 2021, 10:16 PM(IST)

Elon Musk-led SpaceX's internet division Starlink has already received over 5,000 pre-orders for its devices in India Photograph:( Reuters )

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On November 27, the Indian government had issued a missive after the company started taking pre-bookings for satellite broadband services

Following the Indian government’s warning, Starlink, the satellite internet division of Elon Musk-led SpaceX, has said that it will apply for a commercial licence early next year to provide broadband and other services.

“We hope to have applied for a commercial licence on or before 31st January 2022 (unless we hit some major roadblock),” Sanjay Bhargava, Starlink Country Director, India at SpaceX said in a LinkedIn post.

If the company can roll out its services by April, it aims to have 200,000 Starlink devices in India by December 2022, it said in a presentation posted by Bhargava. The company has previously said it expects 80 per cent of these devices to be in rural areas.

On November 27, the Indian government had issued a missive after the company started taking pre-bookings for satellite broadband services.

The Department of Telecom (DoT) had said that Starlink Internet Services is not licensed to offer satellite-based internet services in India, and advised the public to refrain from subscribing to its services.

Also read Don’t subscribe Elon Musk-backed Starlink services till it gets licence, Indian government tells public

DoT made it clear that the company should “get licence before offering Satellite-based services”.

While Starlink has already received over 5,000 pre-orders for its devices in India, it has not begun any services.

Starlink is one of a growing number of companies launching small satellites as part of a low-Earth orbit network to provide low-latency broadband internet services around the world, with a particular focus on remote areas that terrestrial internet infrastructure struggles to reach.

Its competitors include Amazon.com's Kuiper and OneWeb which is co-owned by the British government and India's Bharti Enterprises.

(With inputs from agencies)

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