SpaceX faces regulatory hurdles in India

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India’s TRAI (Telecom Regulatory Authority of India) regulator has been asked to object to Elon Musk’s plan to offer his Starlink broadband-by-satellite service to India.

TRAI, as well as India’s Space Research Organisation (ISRO), are being asked to object to SpaceX’s Starlink deployment by a group of technology giants under the umbrella Broadband India Forum which includes the Indian offices of Facebook, Amazon, Microsoft and Google as well as existing broadband satellite supplier Hughes Network Systems.

The Broadband India Forum is complaining that SpaceX does not have the necessary licence or authorisation from the government to roll out satellite-based services in India.

T.V. Ramachandran, President of the Broadband India Forum, wrote in his letter to TRAI and ISRO: “We request you to urgently intervene to protect fair competition and adherence to existing policy and regulatory norms”.

The Forum also argues that Musk’s company has not been licensed to install ground teleports in India, nor been licensed to use the satellite frequencies needed to link with subscribers on the ground.

SpaceX has reportedly said that it can begin offering services to Indian users from 2022.

Also extremely active in India is Starlink’s arch-rival OneWeb which is backed and part-owned by India’s giant telco Bharti.


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