Tesla and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk has been served second notice within days for the company’s activities in India. The latest notice comes from Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI), which is miffed about the fact that Starlink is indulging in business activities in the country without permission.
According to Economic Times, the notice served on December 7 to the company reads, "Starlink Internet Services is required to desist from soliciting telecom business." Musk’s company has been looking to enter India with its internet services. The new notification, comes a week after it was told that while the company is not barred from doing business in India, it must take the authorisation from the government before getting into any business transactions in the country.
The company landed in trouble after Starlink India CEO Sanjay Bhragava wrote on LinkedIn that a Starlink Internet connection will cost around Rs 1.58 lakh per user terminal.
Starlink Country director India at SpaceX Sanjay Bhargava had told media in November that discussion with telecom providers in India will start when 12 phase -1 aspirational districts are identified by the NITI Aayog. Starlink was accepting pre-bookings for Indian addresses at an approx price of $99. The company is targeting around 20,000 terminals in India.
Satellite internet is a broadband internet service that uses radio waves to transmit internet from an ISP hub to your satellite receiver dish which is attached with a modem to provide internet access. SpaceX uses lasers instead of radio waves to transmit data.
Other companies that are looking to launch their satellite internet services in the country are Sunil Bharti Mittal and UK government- owned, OneWeb, and Jeff Bezos-owned Amazon. Airtel is likely to launch its services in 2022.
While the government is willing to explore the services of satellite internet service providers to take the internet services to India’s hinterlands, astronomers have raised concerns over effects of satellite based internet services on ground-based astronomy and orbital environment. There are also concerns with regards to national security with the use of this technology.
Currently India is home to the second highest number of internet users in the world. In 2019, there were about 54 internet subscribers per 100 inhabitants in the country. While India's share in the world population is about 16-17 percent, due to low urbanisation, only around 10 percent of its total population has access to the internet.