The Department of Telecommunications (DoT) will soon ask SpaceX to apply for necessary permits before it can offer satellite internet services in India. According to an ET Telecom report, the telecom department will soon approach SpaceX for sharing its plans for providing services in India. This will help DoT determine if SpaceX could provide services with just one or both the VSAT (very small aperture terminal) and Internet Service Provider (ISP) license under the Unified License (UL).
SpaceX Must Comply With Laws of India
The official related to the matter said that the telecom department has no problems with SpaceX providing services in India. However, the company will have to adhere to all the rules and policies set by the government and obtain the necessary licenses before it can start providing services in the country.
The telecom department will ask SpaceX to share details about its India plans and then will ask it to apply for the necessary licenses that are required as per law. SpaceX will offer its satellite internet services through Starlink, which will compete in India with other satcom companies, including Bharti owned OneWeb and Amazon’s Project Kuiper.
The DoT will also talk with the Department of Space (DoS) about whether SpaceX will need to secure landing rights for using signals of foreign satellites in India by applying to the National Space Program & Authorisation Centre (IN-SPACe).
SpaceX was recently criticised by an industry body that represents OneWeb, Amazon, and Hughes. The industry body asked the government to stop SpaceX from selling its Starlink connection in India when it hasn’t even received licenses and authorisation to provide services in the country.
For the unaware, SpaceX has been offering Indians an option to pre-book a Starlink connection by paying $99 (approximately Rs 7,000). The company has assured the customers that their payment is completely refundable if they want to cancel their order. Thus, even if SpaceX isn’t able to get the necessary licenses, the customers who paid for the pre-booking of the connection will be able to get their money back.
Starlink’s website says that it will start providing satellite internet services by the half of 2022. It will be interesting to see the developments on the same in the coming days.