Starlink has one major issue in regards to providing satellite broadband Internet in India. The issue is not of the coverage but of the regulatory approvals. Yes, this has been said before by Elon Musk himself. Musk had said on multiple occasions that providing blanket coverage is not the issue; the issue is to provide services in multiple countries. This is because Starlink will have to comply with the national policies of all the countries it aims to provide services in. Since almost every country has a different set of policy and regulatory frameworks revolving around satellite broadband and satcom companies, Starlink will have to get approvals from each of the nations in a unique manner.
This doesn’t just make it harder for the company to roll out satellite broadband services fast but also takes more money and energy.
Starlink Plans to Enter India in 2022
Starlink has plans of entering the Indian market in mid-2022. This is well and fine, but to provide services within the Indian boundaries, Starlink will need to get the necessary permissions and comply with the regulatory norms set by the government of India.
The government is still in discussions about the guidelines for the satcom industry. The guidelines will be out soon, and they should echo some of the requests made by the Satcom Industry Association (SIA-India).
Satellite broadband will play a crucial role in providing internet connectivity in the remote and rural regions of the country where the presence of terrestrial networks is not a profitable business for the telecom companies. Thus, the government should keep in mind that companies such as Starlink, along with its competitors, including OneWeb, Project Juniper from Amazon, and more are important for the future of the country.
Starlink will provide services in the commercial segment directly to customers, while OneWeb has said that it will partner with the telcos to help them extend the reach of their networks.