Tue. Feb 27th, 2024
Starlink Receives Approval to Offer Satellite Broadband Services in India

American satellite internet company Starlink, owned by entrepreneur Elon Musk, has been granted permission to provide satellite broadband services in India, according to officials. The Department of Telecommunications (DoT) has approved the issuance of a global mobile personal communication by satellite (GMPCS) license to Starlink.

After overcoming a few remaining obstacles, Starlink will become the third satellite broadband service provider in the country, following OneWeb India, backed by Bharti Group, and Jio Satellite Communications, backed by Reliance. However, the activation of their services will depend on changes being made to the Telecommunications Act of 2023 by the government.

Starlink has addressed concerns related to its shareholding structure and its investors. The company has declared that it does not have any investors from countries that share land borders with India, thus resolving issues raised by the Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT). Starlink cited U.S. regulations as the reason for not providing details about its shareholders to the ministry.

While a formal communication has been sent to Starlink, a letter of intent is expected to be issued in the next couple of days. Currently, there’s no response from SpaceX or the DoT regarding queries related to the approval.

Starlink will also need approval from the Indian National Space Promotion and Authorisation Centre (IN-SPACe), the country’s space regulator, before it can begin offering services. Additionally, the government must establish the price of airwaves, which will then be allocated on a non-auction basis to Starlink or any other carrier it collaborates with.

The process of determining the price of airwaves through the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has not yet commenced, as the rules under the Telecommunications Act of 2023 are still being formulated. It is estimated that it will take at least six months before satellite broadband services can be commercially launched, although these estimates are not set in stone.

Starlink initially applied for the license in November 2022. OneWeb India, a subsidiary of Eutelsat OneWeb and supported by the Bharti Group, received authorization from IN-SPACe in November 2023, enabling the company to launch its commercial satellite broadband services in India. Jio Satellite Communications, backed by Reliance, is awaiting IN-SPACe authorization and has a global joint venture with SES to utilize the latest medium earth orbit (MEO) satellite technology.

In addition to OneWeb and Jio, Starlink may also face competition from Amazon, which is in the process of applying for an operating license for satellite communications in India through its Project Kuiper service. The final steps to apply for the license with the DoT are currently underway.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) about Starlink’s Satellite Broadband Services in India:

Q: Which satellite internet company has been granted permission to provide satellite broadband services in India?
A: American satellite internet company Starlink, owned by Elon Musk, has been granted permission.

Q: How many satellite broadband service providers currently exist in India?
A: Starlink will become the third satellite broadband service provider in India, following OneWeb India and Jio Satellite Communications.

Q: What needs to happen for Starlink and other providers to activate their services?
A: The activation of their services depends on changes being made to the Telecommunications Act of 2023 by the government.

Q: What concerns has Starlink addressed regarding its shareholding structure and investors?
A: Starlink has declared that it does not have any investors from countries that share land borders with India, resolving issues raised by the Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT).

Q: What approvals does Starlink still need before offering services in India?
A: Starlink requires approval from the Indian National Space Promotion and Authorisation Centre (IN-SPACe) and the government’s establishment of the price of airwaves.

Q: How long will it take for satellite broadband services to be commercially launched in India?
A: It is estimated that it will take at least six months before satellite broadband services can be commercially launched, although this is subject to change.

Q: Which other satellite broadband providers may provide competition to Starlink in India?
A: OneWeb, Jio Satellite Communications, and Amazon’s Project Kuiper service are potential competitors to Starlink in India.

Key Terms and Definitions:

1. Department of Telecommunications (DoT) – The department responsible for formulating policies, regulating and licensing telecommunications services in India.
2. Global Mobile Personal Communication by Satellite (GMPCS) – A license that allows satellite communication services to be provided on a global scale.
3. Bharti Group – An Indian conglomerate company involved in various industries, including telecommunications.
4. Jio Satellite Communications – A satellite communications company backed by Reliance Industries, a major Indian conglomerate.
5. Telecommunications Act of 2023 – Refers to the specific legislation in India that governs telecommunications services.
6. Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT) – A government department in India responsible for promoting and regulating industry and trade.
7. Indian National Space Promotion and Authorisation Centre (IN-SPACe) – The regulatory body in India responsible for promoting and regulating space activities.
8. Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) – The regulatory body in India for the telecommunications sector, responsible for fixing tariffs and policies.

Suggested Related Links:
Starlink Official Website
OneWeb Official Website
Jio Official Website
Amazon Official Website