Starlink is currently figuring out the regulatory approvals required for providing satellite broadband services in India. The SpaceX backed company has expressed its intention of providing services in India by mid-2022 and it had also started selling pre-booking of the connections. Elon Musk said on Twitter that Starlink is figuring out the regulatory approval process. One of the biggest things that lacks in India in the satcom industry is the lack of guidelines and the policy framework. The government is currently working on it and should come out with it soon so that the private companies planning to come to the Indian market know what they are stepping into.
Starlink’s Mammoth Challenge Isn’t to Send Satellites to Space, but Get Regulatory Approvals
Starlink has been said to be ready for providing global coverage by September 2021. But the company can’t just outright start providing services in every country as soon as it is ready to do so. The bigger challenge for Starlink would be to comply with regulatory approvals of each country.
Before getting regulatory approvals, the company’s investments would lie idle. The Department of Telecommunications (DoT) has already directed Starlink to get the necessary regulatory approvals before it starts providing satellite broadband services in India.
For the unaware, Starlink is already providing beta services in 14 different countries including New Zealand, Australia, the US, and multiple parts of Europe. The same regulatory approvals will be required by companies such as OneWeb and Project Juniper from Amazon.
OneWeb has already communicated its decision about being a B2B company in India initially. The satcom company will help the telcos with backhaul and connectivity in areas where terrestrial networks aren’t present. But Starlink is expected to be a B2C company since the company had already started selling pre-booking of connections in India for a $99 amount.
Things need to happen fast in India in terms of regulatory framework and guidelines so that these companies don’t lose out on their investment.