Starlink: What is it and why Indian govt has warned against Elon Musk’s internet?

Starlink: What is it and why Indian govt has warned against Elon Musk's internet?

The Indian government has warned public against subscribing to the services offered by Starlink, a broadband internet system by Elon Musk-founded SpaceX.

The government has said that Starlink is not licensed to offer satellite-based internet services in India. Let us tell you that the services are available for pre-booking.

The Department of Telecommunications (DoT) said that the company does not have the necessary licenses for a company to provide satellite-based services in India.

Indian govt’s warning to public

“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.

Starlink: What is it and why has the Indian govt warned against Elon Musk's internet?
Image credits: Starlink

The company has started pre-booking the internet services in the country and the company’s website says that users in India can book its internet services, the government said.

“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.

Starlink: What is it and why has the Indian govt warned against Elon Musk's internet?

In addition, the government has also told the company to refrain from making its services available for booking in India immediately until the necessary 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.

Starling planning to expand services in India?

According to a report by PTI earlier this month, the company was reportedly planning to work with Indian telecom companies to expand its broadband services in the country.

Sanjay Bhargava, Starlink Country Director India at SpaceX, told news agency ANI that the company plans to start talks with service providers after NITI Aayog identified 12 phase-1 aspiration districts.

Starlink: What is it and why has the Indian govt warned against Elon Musk's internet?
Image credits: Starlink

The company is currently offering its services in some areas in India for $99 which is fully refundable. The website also reveals that the company aims to have coverage by 2022 and that availability is subject to regulatory approval.

What is Starlink?

SpaceX, an aerospace company which was founded by Musk in 2002, operates the internet service. It is basically a satellite internet constellation that provides satellite-based Internet access to most of the Earth.

The constellation contains more than 1600 as of mid-2021 and will eventually have many thousands of mass-produced small satellites in low Earth orbit. The service is available in 20 countries as of November 2021.

Image credits: Starlink

Starlink satellite internet launch date in India

Information on Starlink’s website suggests that it is planning to launch its services in India in 2022. It has not provided the exact launch date. However, it is offering pre-bookings via its official website.

Starlink: What is it and why has the Indian govt warned against Elon Musk's internet?
Image credits: Starlink

Starlink availability in India

Starlink will reportedly cover most of the major cities including Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai, Hyderabad, Bengalurua and others. If you want to see whether it will be available at your location, you can visit the official website and fill your details to check if you can pre-book now. However, as advised by the government, you must refrain from doing so.

Starlink: What is it and why has the Indian govt warned against Elon Musk's internet?
Image credits: Starlink

For Indian addresses, the company has already started accepting pre-bookings at $99 (about Rs 7,300) towards deposit for the service. This payment is for the equipment that is installed at your address to access Internet service.

Starlink: What is it and why has the Indian govt warned against Elon Musk's internet?
Image credits: Starlink

Internet speeds offered by Starlink

Starlink offers speeds between 50-150 Mbps during the current beta testing phase. However, Elon Musk had earlier said that the speeds will double up to reach 300 Mbps by the end of 2021.

Musk had also said that by the end of 2021, the project will cover “most of the world”.

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