Govt interferes, Elon Musk’s Starlink soon to become a possibility in India


The clearance process for setting up Satellite based broadband services gets simplified by the Department of Telecommunication (DoT).

In the fray is Elon Musk’s Starlink Satellite Communications Private Limited which starts to plan broadband in the country.

Elon Musk is the CEO of Tesla and founder of rocket company SpaceX. By December 2022, the satellite internet division of SpaceX aims to have 200,000 Starlink devices in India of which 80% will be in rural districts. Earlier, the company was barred from accepting pre-orders for their broadband services in India.

Bharati group backed OneWeb and Amazon are other major firms that are expected to initiate a satellite internet broadband in India.

It was during the Winter session of the parliament that Devusinh Chauhan, the Minister of State for Communications informed about this trial. An application for the experimental license in DoT was done by Elon Musks’ Starlink Satellite Communications. Licenses and authorisations are the keys to commercial launch.

The minister demanded the requisite licences be obtained. The company was directed to abstain from booking satellite-based internet services before completing the required procedures.

While speaking at an event, S Niraniyan, Deputy Director-General of DoT said that they were also simplifying clearance procedures for satellite networks so that it takes a minimum amount of time to roll out. He also added that in recent times, the government has taken initiatives to boost business in the communication sector.

The commercial license application is to be given on or before 31st January 2022, said Sanjay Bhargava, Starlink Country Director via a LinkedIn post.

The consultation paper on “Ease of Doing Business in Telecom and Broadcasting Sector” released by The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) invited comments on setting up a single-window clearance system for coordinating with other concerned ministries who are involved in granting permission to telecom and broadcast players and also for making all the permissions online.

Simplifying processes for satellite services views on time-bound approvals with provisions of deemed approvals from the concerned government departments were sought by the regulator as well.

The key roles played in various kinds of permits gives the Department of Space, Power ministry etc, involvement in the process.

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