Elon Musk’s Starlink internet service faces #39;regulatory hurdles#39; in India: Report


The Broadband India Forum, an industry body, has called on TRAI to block Starlink’s beta services in India for not meeting regulatory requirements.

Elon Musk. (File Image)

Elon Musk. (File Image)

The Broadband India Forum has written to the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) and the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) to block Elon Musk’s SpaceX Technologies from pre-selling the beta version of its Starlink satellite internet services in India.

TV Ramachandran, president of the industry body, which represents Amazon, Facebook, Google, Hughes and Microsoft, claimed that SpaceX does not have the permissions to offer such services in India, The Economic Times reported.

Musk’s SpaceX has offered pre-orders for the beta version of its Starlink internet services in India for a “fully refundable deposit” of $ 99 (Rs 7,000). The service competes with other satellite communication (satcom) services such as Bharti Group and the UK government-owned OneWeb (aiming for a mid-2022 launch) and Amazon’s Project Kuiper.

Ramachandran requested these bodies to “urgently intervene to protect fair competition and adherence to existing policy and regulatory norms”, the report added.

A senior TRAI official told the paper the issue “would be examined.”

Moneycontrol could not independently verify the report.

The forum said Starlink didn’t have its own ground or earth stations in India nor satellite frequency authorisation from ISRO and the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) required to offer beta services in the country, the report added.

Starlink appeared to be “non-complaint to existing guidelines”, which state that no commercial launch can be executed during the testing phase of communication services, it said.

SpaceX did not respond to queries, the report added.

Starlink’s services are set for a limited launch in India in 2022 on “first-come-first-serve basis” and already available in Canada, the US and UK.

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