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SpaceX-backed Starlink opens limited public registration for India users

SpaceX-backed Starlink opens limited public registration for India users
Photo Credit: 123RF.com
3 Mar, 2021

Starlink has opened registrations for its high speed broadband service in India. Available for a limited number of users, the service deposit costs $99 (about Rs 7,300), with coverage aimed to start in 2022.

Starlink is a constellation of satellites being developed by the space technology company SpaceX founded by Musk. The Hawthorne California headquartered company has been using its expertise to develop Starlink to provide high-speed and low latency broadband services. 

The constellation of 4,400 Non-Geostationary Orbit (NGSO) Satellites promises users data speeds from 50 Mbps to 150 Mbps and latency from 20 milliseconds to 40 milliseconds in the ongoing beta phase. 

Users are provided with Starlink, wifi router, power supply cables and mounting tripod for ground level installation or roof mounts.

The service by Starlink is designated to an area on ground termed a cell and users cannot access the connection outside the designated cell, according to information on the Starlink registration website.

Starlink first elicited interest in targeting the Indian user base by responding to a Telecom and Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) consultation paper on improving broadband connectivity in the country released in August 2020. In its response, SpaceX asked for encouraging spectrum sharing through band-splitting between NGSO satellite operators, blanket licensing by TRAI and recommended adopting an ‘open skies’ approach for satellite services. 

At the time, Starlink said that it had launched 700 satellites in 16 months’ time frame and was building 120 satellites per month as part of the programme as of September, 2020. 

“For India, SpaceX is on track with constellation deployments for continuous Starlink coverage throughout India by the end of 2021 with corresponding service capability, regulatory approvals permitting,” said the submission.