Elon Musk founded SpaceX Technologies’ in an attempt to launch satellite internet services in India.
But now it is facing a challenge right before its commercial launch as The Broadband India Forum has written to the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) and the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) requesting them to block this technology from pre-selling their beta version of Starlink in India.
Even their country director and chairman of the board, Sanjay Bhargava, has stepped down from his post owing to personal reasons. “I have stepped down as Country Director and Chairman of the Board of Starlink India for personal reasons. My last working day was December 31, 2021,” he wrote on his LinkedIn page.
It is still not clear as to what triggered his resignation, but it came after the Indian government ordered the company to refund all pre-orders until it received a license to operate.
Government Advised Against Subscribing To Starlink
In December, the government issued an advisory that stated Starlink has not received any kind of license or authorization that is required to operate as a satellite internet service in a country.
“The Government has asked the company to comply with the Indian regulatory framework for rendering the satellite-based communication services and refrain from booking/rendering the satellite internet services in India with immediate effect,” stated the advisory. The government cautioned the public at large not to subscribe to Starlink.
Bhargava’s Goal Was To Have 2 Lakh Connections
One year from now, by 2023 at least, Sanjay Bhargava’s vision was to have 2 lakh connections in India, that would spread across 1.6 lakh rural districts in the country.
The only problem here was that Starlink’s user terminal had to be connected to the company’s satellites, which costs $499 each (approx. ₹37,000).
Additionally, the monthly subscription rate that has to be paid equals $99 (approx. ₹7,400). It ends up being extremely expensive no matter what plan you opt for, especially for Indians. Starlink’s top speed is a little over 200 Mbps. Popular broadband providers such as JioFiber, ACT Fibernet, and Airtel have plans that start at ₹999 per month for 200 Mbps speed.
They also offer 1Gbps plans that start at ₹3,999 per month, which are still lower than Starlink’s plans. Surely satellite internet is different from wired broadband, but the huge price difference and widespread availability of 4G service make Starlink a non-starter for most Indian users.
SpaceX Technologies already offers its service to the US, Canada, and the UK, India is yet to be on this list.
Image Sources: Google Images
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