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Starlink gets nod to offer broadband by satellite: report

Billionaire Elon Musk's satellite internet firm has secured the telecom department's approval to offer satellite broadband services in India

Starlink gets nod to offer broadband by satellite: report
[Source photo: Chetan Jha/Press Insider]

Billionaire Elon Musk’s satellite internet firm Starlink has secured the department of telecommunication’s (DoT’s) approval to offer satellite broadband services in the country, Mint reported, citing two unidentified people aware of the development.

The DoT granted an American internet company a license for global mobile personal communication by satellite (GMPCS), the report said.

The telecom department reportedly got the go-ahead to approve Starlink from the commerce ministry after the company submitted the details.

Starlink next has to clear a couple of more issues before it can become the third company set to offer broadband services by satellite in India after Reliance-backed Jio Satellite Communications and Bharti-Group-backed OneWeb India.

Starlink is said to have got the approval after it submitted a declaration that the company does not have investors from countries with which India shares land borders.

The Department of Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT) reportedly sought details from the company about its shareholders before awarding the license.

OneWeb India, the local arm of low-earth orbit satellite operator Eutelsat OneWeb, became the first company to get regulatory nod to launch commercial satellite broadband services in India in November.

The permit to offer commercial satellite broadband services is valid for five years and is subject to the assignment of the spectrum by the Department of Telecommunication (DoT) for both the gateways and user terminal operations.

While the company has obtained global mobile personal communication by satellite services (GMPCS) license from DoT, the IN-SPACe approval was the final piece required before commencing operations. The only remaining requirement is the allocation of spectrum for direct transmission of broadband signals to customers in India.

India’s Space Policy 2023 allows foreign entities to establish infrastructure and offer satellite services in India. The policy opens the doors for private low-earth orbit and medium-earth orbit satellite constellation operators to provide high-speed satellite internet services.

Under the policy, IN-SPACe is the sole single-window authority for regulating various space activities and granting authorization for conducting space activities in the country by both government and private companies.

The government last month introduced a new telecom bill in parliament proposing the allocation of spectrum to satellite communications companies through the administrative method instead of auction.

Space-based global communication companies and industry associations have been lobbying for an administrative allocation process for satellite communication (satcom) services, opposing the current approach for allocating spectrum through auctions only.

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