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Starlink not licensed to offer internet in India, don’t subscribe: Govt

Starlink not licensed to offer internet in India, don’t subscribe: Govt
29 Nov, 2021

The Indian government has advised the netizens to not subscribe for pre-orders of satellite-based internet service provider Starlink.  

Starlink, which is a SpaceX venture spearheaded by its chief executive Elon Musk, opened pre-orders for its services in India in February 2021. 

Also readElon Musk's Starlink registers India unit, can apply for licenses

“For rendering satellite-based services in India, requisite licenses from the Department of Telecom (DoT) are required. It is hereby informed to the public at large that the said company has not obtained any license for rendering satellite-based internet services that are being booked on their website,” a notice, divulged on November 26, said. 

The government has also asked the company to comply with the Indian regulatory framework for rendering the satellite-based communication services and refrain from booking the satellite internet services in India with immediate effect,”  

At the time of publishing, Starlink has not yet withdrawn the option for users in India to submit a pre-order application.  

The Starlink website presently allows users to submit their PIN code, followed by their full address, and make a fully refundable payment of $99 (approximately Rs 7,400) towards pre-booking its internet services in India. 

A notice on the pre-order page of Starlink states that the company is targeting the launch of its initial services by 2022, and availability would be subject to regulatory approval.  

The services would also be rolled out on a first-come, first-serve basis. 

In March this year, shortly after Starlink opened pre-orders for customers in India, a consortium of companies including Bharti Airtel-OneWeb, Amazon, Google, Facebook and others had written to the Indian government, urging Starlink preorders to be stopped.  

The consortium had alleged that Starlink does not have the necessary approvals to accept pre-orders from customers. 

However, Bharti Airtel-backed OneWeb is one of the companies vying for its space in the satellite-based internet connectivity sectors.  

Also read: NSIL, ISRO, Bharti-backed OneWeb partner to launch OneWeb satellites in India next year

Like Starlink, OneWeb is also in the process of building its own constellation of satellites that would beam down internet connectivity to various parts of Earth, once operational.  

Amazon, backed by its founder Jeff Bezos, is also in this sector with Project Kuiper.  

At the time of publishing this report, Starlink has not issued a statement in response to the government’s public advisory against its pre-orders.