Elon Musk-led SpaceX’s satellite broadband arm Starlink aims to launch broadband service in India with 2 lakh active terminals from December 2022, a top company official said on Friday. Starlink Country Director of India Sanjay Bhargava said in his social media post that pre-orders from India have crossed 5,000 and the company is keen to work in rural areas to provide broadband services.
We aim to activate 2,00,000 terminals in India by December 2022. If we do not get the approval of the government, the actual number may be much less than that or even zero, but it is very unlikely that we will exceed 2,00,000.
Company’s services compete with these companies in broadband
The company is depositing USD 99 or Rs 7,350 per customer and claims to offer data speeds in the range of 50 to 150 megabits per second in the beta phase. The company’s services will compete with Reliance Jio, Bharti Airtel, Vodafone Idea in broadband and will be a direct competitor to Bharti Group-backed OneWeb.
Bhargava said Starlink wanted a remote area in Goa. We will work with rural constituencies that are keen on 100% broadband. Much of this will be provided by terrestrial broadband. But hard-to-serve areas will be handled by satcom providers. Like Starlink. We look forward to the day when a rural constituency in India can declare itself as 100% broadband.
No application pending with the government
In a pre-order note, Starlink said that its service is available in multiple countries and it will be easier to get government approval if there are more pre-orders from India. The government approval process is complicated. So far no application is 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 the pilot approval if pan India approval is received. We are hopeful that we will get the pilot program or pan India approval in the next few months, the note said. The note also explained the uncertainty surrounding the delivery of Starlink services due to semiconductor and liquid oxygen shortages.
Starlink notes that semiconductor shortages have affected the rate at which Starlink kits can be manufactured. There is a lack of liquid oxygen that is needed for rockets to put more Starlink satellites into space. The global pre orders have crossed 5,00,000 and around 1,00,000. Terminals are active so there is a huge global backlog.