Elon Musk's Starlink Seeks Green Light To Set Up Earth Stations In India

Elon Musk’s Starlink is seeking approval from the Indian National Space Promotion & Authorization Centre (IN-SPACe) to set up earth stations in India, according to the Economic Times.

What Happened? In 2023, the Indian Space Policy assigned responsibility to ISRO, New Space India Limited (a public sector undertaking in the space sector), and IN-SPACe, an autonomous agency within the Department of Space to promote the involvement of private players in the space sector.

Previously, SpaceX had requested a global mobile personal communication by satellite services (GMPCS) licence from the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) to initiate broadband-from-space services in India under the Starlink brand.

A government official informed ET that they are still processing Starlink’s GMPCS application and the Ministry of Home Affairs is conducting a security check. He anticipated that they will likely grant this license in the next couple of months.

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SpaceX is the third company to apply for this licence, after OneWeb, backed by Bharti Group, and Reliance Jio Infocomm’s satellite branch, both of whom have already received a GMPCS licence.

Musk recently met with PM Modi and expressed his interest in launching Starlink in India. He sees potential for the service in remote areas that lack high-speed internet access.

Starlink has urged India to assign licences rather than auction the spectrum, claiming that auctions may impose geographic restrictions that increase costs. In contrast, Reliance has called for an auction, arguing for a level playing field as foreign satellite service providers could compete with traditional telecom players.

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