Indian Government has barred Elon Musk’s Starlink in the absence of requisite permissions and licenses. The company is not permitted to sell satellite-based broadband internet plans in India. This news comes after SpaceX launched its first batch of operational satellites for Starlink on February 22, 2019.
It also follows an injunction order issued by a Mumbai court last month which had restrained the government from issuing any further permits to SpaceX for using Indian space infrastructure without an agreement with the country’s Department of Space (DOS).
As per the order, “The company (Starlink) is not permitted to sell satellite-based broadband internet plans in India. It cannot have a direct business conflict with established operators and must comply with all Indian laws before proceeding further”.
In a statement, the Communications Ministry said, “The Department of Telecommunications (DoT) has pointed out that Starlink Internet Services is not licensed to offer satellite-based internet services in India being advertised to the public… the government, (accordingly), has asked the company to comply with the Indian regulatory framework for rendering satellite-based communication services and refrain from booking/rendering such services in India with immediate effect.”
In September, Elon Musk said that in India, Starlink would initially focus on providing connectivity to schools and to remote areas that lack internet access. However, the company needs a permit from India’s DoT for this. In October, Starlink India director Sanjay Bhargava announced on LinkedIn that the company has successfully registered its India subsidiary Starlink Satellite Communications Private Limited.
Musk’s Starlink Indian Government, The Indian Government is of the view that SpaceX cannot provide internet services in India without complying with local rules and regulations while stressing national sovereignty concerns regarding foreign satellite launches that could be used to spy on sensitive locations.
In March, the Indian Government had launched a policy for commercial use of satellite-based internet services to provide broadband access throughout the country using satellites in lower orbits at speeds up to 100Mbps.
However, it has been stressed that this will be done only after security and sovereignty concerns are addressed.
The government has asked Starlink to stop all its promotional activities in India and to comply with all Indian laws before proceeding further.