Starlink has been Elon Musk’s mission to provide high-speed, low-latency internet to the world, regardless of geographical barriers. However, its operations have encountered a major setback in India, the world’s second-largest internet market. The Indian government has now issued a public advisory saying that Starlink Internet Services do not have a license to operate in the country, hence advising general public to not sign up for the service just yet.
Effective immediately, the company is to refrain from booking and rendering satellite-based internet services in India, and people are advised not to subscribe to its services. Starlink had been accepting pre-orders for the beta version of the internet service for a fully refundable deposit of $99. It has already received over 5000 orders in India.
This development could set back the company’s goal to start broadband service in India from December 2022 with 2 lakh active terminals (80% of which will be in rural areas). It had started taking pre-bookings for satellite broadband services after SpaceX’s wholly-owned subsidiary registered in the country earlier this month.
According to the Government of India, Starlink Internet Services had not obtained any license/authorization required to render satellite-based internet services in the country, the same which was being booked on their website. Since Starlink is not a licensee, the public is advised not to subscribe to Starlink services being advertised. The DoT made it clear that Starlink needed a license to operate in the country.
“For rendering satellite-based services in India, requisite license(s) from Department of Telecommunications, Government of India are required… Given the fact that Starlink is not a licensee, the public is advised not to subscribe to Starlink services being advertised,” read the Ministry’s statement.
According to a government statement, Starlink has been told to comply with the regulatory framework of the country for offering satellite-based internet services, and refrain from “booking/rendering the satellite internet services in India with immediate effect.” So unless Starlink receives the license, it will not be able to operate in India and stop pre-booking from the public.