Case Study | Musk’s Starlink in India: A focus on rural areas

Starlink illustration
Starlink illustration

SpaceX’s satellite broadband branch, Starlink, led by Elon Musk, is in deciding stages to discover collaboration with telecom companies in India. That is to broaden broadband services in the nation, especially in rural areas.

Sanjay Bhargava, Starlink’s country director in India, said that discussions with telecom companies will begin as soon as the 12 Phase-1 aspirational districts are found by the Niti Aayog, and the organization will check the interest levels of the various players and the Universal Service Obligation Fund (USOF).

Bhargava said that he wishes they would obtain a time-bound 100% broadband plan that could serve as the model for other districts. But, the devil is in the details, he said, and there might be numerous good reasons why broadband providers do not want to partner, but to him, that seems improbable.

Starlink stated that they received more than 5,000 pre-orders from the country. For each customer, the organization is charging a deposit of $99, which is Rs 7,350, and promises to deliver data speeds in a range from 50 to 150 megabits per second in the beta stage.

Earlier, Bhargava had announced that the organization would concentrate on ten rural Lok Sabha constituencies to offer internet services for almost 80% of the Starlink terminals imported to India.

Bhargava added that they could launch fast if they have a license approval and that Starlinks can move to other remote parts of the country. Moreover, Bhargava stated in a social media post that the company wants to join hands with all.

He went on to say that they want to collaborate with everyone and have others besides them licensed to offer satellite broadband and that satellite plus terrestrial can together offer 100% broadband, particularly the rural areas.

Having a local unit by their side will aid the organization apply for licenses. That is needed to provide broadband and other satellite-based services.

Starlink plans to conduct the business of telecom services, which includes elements like satellite broadband internet services, multimedia communication, streaming and content storage, according to the company filing.

They will also deal with devices like satellite phones, wired and wireless communication devices, network equipment, and data transmission and reception equipment.

Like mentioned, Starlink stated that it would concentrate on the rural parts of the country. In the beginning phase, it will provide 100 devices for free to schools in Delhi and rural districts close by. Then, it will focus on 12 rural districts across India.

Starlink is one of the organizations in the world to launch small satellites as part of a low-Earth orbiting network to give low-latency broadband services. The ultimate motive is to reach out to rural areas in India where internet development is feeble.

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