SpaceX and Tesla CEO Elon Musk has hinted Starlink to enter India’s Internet market by Sept Meanwhile, SpaceX has urged the Indian government to consider allowing satellite-based broadband technologies to operate in India by updating policies.
Replying to the consultation paper on the roadmap to promote broadband connectivity and enhanced broadband Speed issued on August 20 by the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI), reports India Today. SpaceX’s response to TRAI’s paper was first highlighted by Medianama, and the PDF for the same found on TRAI’s website as well. TRAI put out the paperback in August 2020.
The submission is made by Patricia Cooper, Vice President, Satellite Government Affairs at SpaceX. In the submission, Cooper notes, “Starlink’s high-capacity, high-speed, low-latency satellite network will advance the goal of delivering broadband connectivity in the near term to all Indians, particularly those without access now or in the near-term to broadband services traditionally available only to customers in urban and suburban areas.”
Her response also states that the company’s solution would get rid of many of the high-costs associated with traditional wired broadband.
The response reads, “SpaceX does not require expensive ‘last-mile’ fibre lines in order to deliver reliable high-speed broadband. In fact, the ‘last-mile’ for Starlink satellite system consists of the Ku-band connection from the consumer’s home directly to a satellite in orbit, entirely eliminating the largest cost inhibitor to near-term universal broadband coverage in India.”
In its letter to TRAI, SpaceX has also asked for “blanket” licensing tools and a “band-splitting” model that will lead to private telecom operators in India to share the spectrum.
If TRAI heeds to these recommendations, SpaceX may launch in India by 2021. Responding to a TRAI consultation paper, SpaceX’s Vice President for Satellite Government Affairs, Patricia Cooper, said that new technologies like Starlink might require consideration of updated rules, policies, and regulations.
She also recommended suggestions including the encouragement of technology-neutral broadband definitions and assigning already-allocation frequencies for the use of satellite systems, reports NDTV.
With the launch of 60 more satellites in September, SpaceX has been able to put a total of more than 700 satellites in Earth’s orbit. With Starlink, SpaceX aims to launch close to 12,000 satellites into the lower orbits and these will offer broadband coverage.
The idea is to provide high-speed internet to places where it has not been accessible before and at a reasonable price. During the launch, SpaceX claimed that with the help of these satellites they have been able to get download speeds which are more than 100Mbps during beta testing.
However, there is uncertainty over whether SpaceX’s Starlink will be introduced in India or not because of the Indian Space Research Organisation’s (ISRO) draft (Spacecom) that was floated last month. It is expected to replace the existing Satellite Communication Policy with the Space-Based Communication Policy of India.
The guidelines in the draft bar foreign companies from introducing their satellite-based broadband in India. And with the advent of Jio 5G and its Existing competitor as Bharti Airtel, the Path for Starlink in India is quite uncertain for now.