Don't order Musk's Starlink internet plans in India, government warns
The Indian government has issued a warning to billionaire Elon Musk's Starlink against offering pre-bookings for internet plans in India. Starlink is an upcoming satellite-based broadband internet service developed by Musk-founded SpaceX. The Department of Telecommunications (DoT) also advised the public not to subscribe to Starlink's internet plans as the company is not yet licensed in this country. Here are more details on this.
Why does this story matter?
The government directive comes as an early setback for Musk's satellite broadband plans in India. To note, Starlink has been accepting pre-orders for the beta version of the internet service for a fully refundable deposit of $99 (around Rs. 7,400). The company is targeting launch in India by the end of 2022 subject to regulatory approvals, according to its website.
'Refrain from rendering services with immediate effect'
"Department of Telecommunications...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 of Communications said in a statement. "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."
Public advised against subscribing: Government
"For rendering satellite-based services in India, requisite license(s) from Department of Telecommunications, Government of India are required... Given the fact that Starlink is not a licensee, the public is advised not to subscribe to Starlink services being advertised," the Ministry's statement further read.
Meanwhile, Starlink India head Sanjay Bhargava recently said that pre-orders from India had crossed 5,000 and also encouraged more people to subscribe. The company will also deal in devices such as satellite phones, network equipment, wired and wireless communication devices. It aims to bring 2,00,000 Starlink devices to India by December 2022 and 80% of these will be in rural areas.