Home / Industry / Telecom /  Govt says Elon Musk-backed Starlink not a licensee; asks public not to subscribe to service

Elon Musk-led SpaceX's satellite broadband arm Starlink is not licensed to offer satellite-based internet services in India, the Centre said on Friday. It has also cautioned the public not to subscribe to the services that are being advertised by Starlink. 

The Department of Telecom has directed Starlink to comply with the regulatory framework for offering satellite based communication services, and refrain from booking/rendering the satellite internet services in India "with immediate effect". 

In a statement, the government said it has come to notice that Starlink has started pre-selling/booking of the satellite based Starlink Internet Services in the country. The same is also evident from the website of Starlink wherein satellite based internet services can be booked by users in Indian territory, the DoT observed. 

The statement said, "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." 

Offering satellite based services in India requires requisite licence from the Centre. 

"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," it said. Given that Starlink is not a licensee, "the public is advised not to subscribe to Starlink services being advertised", the official statement said.

Starlink is planning to explore collaboration with telecom companies in India to expand broadband services in the country with a focus on rural areas, according to earlier reports.

The company claims to have received more than 5,000 pre-orders from India. Starlink is charging a deposit of $99 or 7,350 per customer and claims to deliver data speeds in the range of 50-150 megabits per second in the beta stage.

In a social media post, Starlink Country Director India at SpaceX Sanjay Bhargava said the company wants to collaborate with all.

"We want to collaborate with all and have others besides us licensed to provide satellite broadband so that satellite plus terrestrial together can provide 100 per cent broadband, especially in rural districts," he said.

With agency inputs

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