Advanced Television

Iran upset over Starlink’s local users

October 9, 2023

There was a time when satellite dish owners in certain countries would be forced to disguise their dishes because of local bans and prohibitions. Owners in Saudi Arabia used to cover their large C-band dishes with parasols so that observing helicopters could not ‘see’ the equipment. Indeed, some owners in nearby Qatar, where a dish ban was once in place, suffered military helicopters lifting the dishes and their concrete bases out of the ground in order to maintain the prohibitions. Those days are long gone and viewers throughout most of the Middle East can watch satellite TV without interference.

However, Iran has formally complained to the ITU over Elon Musk’s Starlink broadband-by-satellite system being used by its citizens. Starlink, and any other unlicensed satellite delivery system is forbidden.

The complaint says that operating a Starlink service in Iran “blatantly ignores Iranian and ITU rules”.

The complaint lists Iranian installations of Starlink equipment. Moreover, the formal complaint admits that Starlink terminals have been “smuggled” into the country and when being set up a message appeared on the computer/smart phone which says that “Starlink would not provide information about you or your usage of Starlink equipment to law enforcement or governments…”

The letter to the ITU then says that a recent meeting with “the founder” of Starlink indicated that it had permission from the US State Department to “turn on“ Starlink over Iran.

Meanwhile, the SpaceX engineering teams were planning back-to-back launches. The first was October 8th from Florida while the second is planned for today (October 9th) from Vandenburg Space Force base in California.

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