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Starlink satellite broadband service faces challenge in India

Elon Musk-led SpaceX plans to introduce Starlink, its satellite internet service Starlink in India by 2022. But while the plan is still in its nascent stage, SpaceX technologies’ satellite broadband is facing hurdles.

As per reports, BIF (Broadband India Forum) has asked TRAI (Telecom Regulatory Authority of India) and ISRO (Indian Space Research Organisation) to block the billionaire’s SpaceX Technologies from pre-selling the beta version of its Starlink satellite internet services in the country.

ET reports, that TV Ramachandran, president of the industry body, which represents Amazon, Facebook, Hughes, Google, and Microsoft has claimed that SpaceX doesn’t have the permissions to provide such services in India.

Notably, Elon’s SpaceX has offered the option to pre-book the Starlink services beta version for a ‘fully refundable deposit’ of $99 (roughly Rs 7,200). For those unaware, Starlink is a collection of small internet satellites that orbit 60 times closer to the earth’s surface compared to regular satellites in the orbit. Due to closer proximity, Starlink provides better latency and interference. SpaceX notes that it has worked with astronomers to reduce the satellite brightness, hence the Starlink satellites will not affect astronomers and their space observations.

Talking about the regulatory hurdles the company is now facing in India, the forum reportedly cited that Starlink did not have the earth stations in India nor satellite frequency authorisation from ISRO and DoT (Department of Telecommunications) to offer beta services in the country. As per the ET report, Starlink appeared to be “non-complaint to existing guidelines”, which denotes that no commercial can be performed during the testing phase of communication services.

A senior TRAI official told the publication the issue ‘would be examined.’ Meanwhile, SpaceX hasn’t respond to the queries, the report added.

Starlink previously mentioned that availability is limited and it will disburse connection on a “first-come-first-serve” basis. For this, the aerospace company’s site has listed numerous locations in the country.

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