Business tycoon and investor Elon Musk’s SpaceX, a satellite communications company, has submitted an application for a license to the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) as it is seeks to expand Starlink satellite internet services in India.
Starlink satellite constellation system seeks to provide internet access throughout the world with the help of an expanding constellation of private satellites in orbit. It is appropriate for rural areas where network coverage is inadequate or where internet connectivity is unstable.
As many rural and distant places in India still lack fiber networks for high-speed internet, satellite connectivity may be the next big thing after 5G.
Consequently, SpaceX is applying for a Global Mobile Personal Communication by Satellite Services (GMPCS) license for the purpose of introducing broadband-from-space services under the Starlink brand throughout the country.
According to The Economic Times, SpaceX submitted a GMPCS license application last week. The company even submitted an application for an experimental license but later withdrew it.
Moreover, the report highlights that a GMPCS license does not guarantee that Starlink internet services would be available throughout the country; the company must still obtain Department of Space approval and acquire the necessary spectrum. SpaceX will also need to install local earth stations (satellite gateways) after receiving permissions.
Aside from SpaceX, there are other companies besides that want to increase India’s satellite Internet service. For satellite broadband services across the country, Bharati Airtel and Hughes have also established a joint venture. And earlier this month, the DoT approved Reliance Jio, the largest 4G network provider in India, to provide satellite Internet service there. Additionally, the article also mentions that Amazon, Telesat Canada, and Tata Group are looking into ways to launch satellite internet services.
Starlink has actually opened registrations for its satellite internet service in India last year. However, the Musk-owned company was forced to return pre-book money after the government asked the company to first seek approval.