Tesla and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk plans to start Starlink broadband service in India in late 2022, Starlink is a satellite-based internet service operated under the SpaceX division to offer better broadband connectivity to customers across the globe at the low latency.
The company is currently awaiting government approval for two lakh active terminals, according to a top company official. “Our stretch target is to have 2,00,000 terminals active in India in December 2022. Actual numbers may be much lower than that or even zero if we do not get government approval but it is very unlikely that we will exceed 2,00,000,” said Sanjay Bhargava, Country Director in India for its Starlink satellite broadband initiative.
The company says customers will have to pay monthly $99 (which is roughly ₹7,350 in India) for Starlink service per customer in India and Starlink will give them up to 50Mbps to 150Mbps speed (under beta phase). The company also said that the customers will also take their refund if they didn’t get what they wanted from Starlink broadband service.
“A remote area in Goa wanted Starlink. We will be working with rural constituencies who are keen to have 100 percent broadband. Most of this will be provided by terrestrial broadband, but the hard to serve areas will be handled by Satcom providers like Starlink,” Bhargava said.
“We look forward to the day a rural constituency in India can declare itself to be 100 percent broadband. Politicians and bureaucrats interested in working with Starlink and other broadband providers are welcome to contact me,” he added.
In a pre-order note, Starlink said that its service is available in many countries and it will be easier for it to get government approvals if it has a high number of pre-orders from India. The note also explained uncertainty around the delivery of Starlink services due to a shortage of semiconductor and liquid oxygen.
“The government approval process is complex. So far there is no application pending with the government, so the ball is in our court to apply for consideration which we are working on. Our approach will be to get pilot approval quickly if pan India approval will take longer. We are optimistic that we will get approval for a pilot program or Pan India approval in the next few months,” the note said.
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“The semiconductor shortage has affected the rate at which Starlink kits can be manufactured. There is a shortage of liquid oxygen which is required for the rockets to put more Starlink satellites into space. Global pre-orders have crossed 5,00,000 and around 1,00,000 terminals are active so there is a big global backlog,” the Starlink note said.