In a recent warning to Elon Musk’s Starlink, the Indian government was blunt: Get a license before delivering satellite internet services in the nation.
In a press release issued on Friday, India’s Department of Telecommunications, which is part of the Ministry of Communications, requested that Starlink cease providing satellite internet services in the nation “with immediate effect” until it obtains the necessary permits. Similarly, the government urged the public not to purchase Starlink internet, which can be pre-ordered for a $99 deposit on the SpaceX subsidiary’s website, because it is not a licensee.
The Starlink starting set, which includes a stand, power supply, and wifi router, costs $499. Additionally, consumers must pay a $99 monthly subscription.
“For rendering satellite-based services in India, requisite license(s) from Department of Telecommunications, Government of India are required. It is hereby informed to the public at large that the said company has not obtained any license/authorization for rendering satellite-based internet services that are being booked on their website,” the government said in its press release. “Accordingly, the Government has asked the company to comply with the Indian regulatory framework for rendering the satellite-based communication services and refrain from booking/rendering the satellite internet services in India with immediate effect.”
Gizmodo contacted SpaceX on Saturday for comment on the Indian government’s response to Starlink but had not received a response by the time this article was published. If we hear back, we’ll make sure to update this blog.
A corporate presentation on stimulating rural development was presented earlier this month by Starlink India director Sanjay Bhargava and cited by Insider did state that it was still “in the process of securing permissions to export Starlinks to India.” According to the presentation, the company’s goal was to have 200,000 Starlinks in the country by December 2022, with 160,000 of them in rural areas.
Although it appears that Starlink did not try to conceal this information, likely, it did not anticipate the government to be so harsh, which is why it continued to joyfully accept pre-orders. However, in this situation, you can understand the government’s reaction. It is not ordering Starlink not to sell, but rather to follow the guidelines before doing so. Furthermore, we live in interesting times. Government clearances are not guaranteed to be expedited.