Elon Musk's Starlink could soon provide satellite broadband services in India

Elon Musk's Starlink satellite network may soon offer broadband services in India as officials consider granting it a GMPCS license.

| Updated on: Aug 24 2023, 15:06 IST
Elon Musk’s Starlink, which currently covers 32 countries, could be available in India soon. (REUTERS)
Elon Musk’s Starlink, which currently covers 32 countries, could be available in India soon. (REUTERS)

After years of waiting, India may soon benefit from Elon Musk's Starlink. The Tesla and SpaceX CEO's satellite network has made the internet accessible to even the most remote parts of the world. It has helped provide crucial internet connectivity wirelessly in remote places, war-torn areas as well and places witnessing natural disasters. While Starlink is currently available in nearly 32 countries, users in India were kept away from its services, despite Musk being in talks with the Indian government for years.

Now, if the latest report is to be believed, Starlink could soon offer broadband services in India.

Starlink in India

According to a report by the New Indian Express, officials close to the matter revealed that the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) officials will meet on September 22 to discuss whether to award SpaceX's satellite internet service the Global Mobile Personal Communication by Satellite (GMPCS) license which it had applied for last year. This license grants companies permission to offer satellite communication services in licensed areas.

As of now only Bharti Airtel in partnership with OneWeb has been awarded this, although there were reports last year that Jio-owned Jio Space Technology company had also bagged the GMPCS license. The next move will involve obtaining an orbit spectrum from the DoT.

Starlink has trying to gain entry into the Indian market for a long time. The company even started taking preorders in 2021 without having a license, when it was warned by DoT to refrain from doing so, after which it issued refunds to people. When searching for Starlink's availability in India on its website. it reads “Starlink is not available in your area”, adding that the company is still awaiting regulatory approval.

Crackdown on OTT apps

As per the report, the official also stated that OTT apps should be brought under licensing rules. This is due to the users' safety concerns as well as licensing fees. “If these OTT players are under the licensing regime, they are obliged to follow government directions. In case of any incidents like in Nuh or Manipur, we could have directed these apps to stop their services without having to disconnect entire internet services,” said the unnamed official.

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First Published Date: 24 Aug, 15:05 IST