As Elon Musk's Starlink offers internet services in India, govt issues warning
Starlink, the broadband internet system of the Elon Musk-founded SpaceX, is not licensed to offer satellite-based internet services in India, the Union government said on Friday and also advised the public to not subscribe to the services offered by the company, which are available for pre-booking.
The Department of Telecommunications (DoT), under the Union ministry of communications, said that Starlink does not have the required licenses for a company to provide satellite based services in the country. “Department of Telecommunications, Ministry of Communications, Government of India. has pointed out that 'Starlink Internet Services' is not licensed to offer satellite-based internet services in India being advertised to the public,” the ministry said in a statement.
The government said that the company has started pre-selling or booking of their satellite based Starlink Internet Services in India and it was evident from the company’s website that users in the Indian territory could book internet services offered by Starlink.
“For rendering satellite based services in India, requisite license(s) from Department of Telecommunications, Government of India are required. It is hereby informed to the public at large that the said company has not obtained any license/authorization for rendering satellite based internet services that are being booked on their website,” the ministry further said.
Further, Starlink has also been asked by the government to immediately refrain from making their services available for booking in the country, until the required licenses are obtained.
“Accordingly, the Government has asked the company to comply with the Indian regulatory framework for rendering the satellite based communication services and refrain from booking/rendering the satellite internet services in India with immediate effect,” the ministry said. “Given the fact that Starlink is not a licensee, the public is advised not to subscribe to Starlink services being advertised,” it added.
Starlink was reportedly planning to explore collaboration with telecom companies in the country to expand their broadband services in the country, according to a report by news agency PTI earlier this month.
The company intends to discuss with service providers after the NITI Aayog identified 12 Phase-1 aspiration districts, Sanjay Bhargava, Starlink Country Director India at SpaceX, told news agency ANI.
Currently, the company is offering its services in select areas within the country for an amount of $99 that is fully refundable. The website also shows that the company is targeting coverage by 2022 and that availability is subject to regulatory approval.