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Setback to Elon Musk’s Starlinks venture in India, Govt advises public to refrain away from purchasing


Elon Musk’s ambitious satellite broadband venture has received a setback from the Indian Government as they have advised the public to not pre-order the service as the company has not yet received the license. SpaceX, the company led by tech mogul Elon Musk, is keen on making a large constellation of low-orbit satellites that will aim to provide high-speed internet across the globe. The speeds in the beta phase are promised to be between 50 – 100 Mbps with the option of unlimited data download without any fair usage policy.

The satellite Internet company has been barred in India from accepting any further pre-bookings. Starlink was charging 99$ for its booking and was promising to launch its services in India by December 2022. The pre-bookings were refundable. According to the Department of Telecommunications, Starlink is not an authorized licensee and therefore has advised the public “not to subscribe” to Starlink services.

The regulatory body has also advised the Satcom company to comply with the regulations before it accepts pre-bookings from Indian customers. The company claims to have accepted more than 5000 bookings at the time of writing this post. Speaking of worldwide, the company has crossed more than 5,00,000 orders. The services are advertised to be fulfilled on a first-come and first-serve basis.

Complaint from an NGO

Many companies are eyeing to launch affordable satellite broadband services in India. Bharti-backed OneWeb will also be rivaling Starlink along with Tata-Telesat. Starlink aims to provide services mostly in rural India where traditional connectivity is often a challenge. Starlink started accepting orders from Feb 2021 and received a complaint from an NGO recently that termed its pre-order bookings as “illegal” as the company has not yet obtained the license.

Why Starlink has become popular in other parts of the world?

Starlink has been offering its services in limited parts of the US, Canada, New Zealand, the UK, and other several countries. As of 14th October, the services are being offered in 14 countries. People are more drawn to Starlink as the company provides absolutely unlimited data, something which is precious in the satellite broadband industry. Typical data limits in the satellite broadband are often in the range of a few hundred of GBs and the speed is then throttled drastically after that.

It is also worth to be noted that Starlink still is in it’s beta phase and the speeds are likely to be faster once stable connectivity would be achieved with satellites. The company has now launched a total of 1791 satellites as of 4th October 2021.

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