Elon Musk’s Starlink internet service could be coming to India, but even before it establishes connectivity within the country, the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) has put it under scrutiny, a new report suggests.
According to The Economic Times, the telecom department is scrutinising whether the Starlink satellite internet service violates the country’s telecommunications and regulatory laws.
Specifically, the department is evaluating whether Starlink violates the Information Technology (IT) Act, 2000, the Indian Telegraph Act, 1885, the Indian Wireless Telegraphy Act, 1933, and the Satellite Communication (SatCom) Policy of India, 2000.
Apart from telecom regulations, the other aspects that are under the DoT’s scrutiny include consumer interest and national security.
Is Starlink under scrutiny because of opposition from Google, OneWeb and others?
Interestingly, the telecom department’s reported intervention in Starlink’s India plans comes close on the heels of opposition by Broadband India Forum’s (BIF) opposition. BIF represents Google, Microsoft, Amazon, Facebook, and OneWeb.
BIF alleged that the Starlink internet service does not comply with India’s regulatory framework. The group petitioned the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) and Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) to intervene and prevent Starlink from launching its services in India.
OneWeb, co-owned by Bharti Global and the UK government, is a direct competitor to Starlink. OneWeb is a London based company and has plans to launch 648 satellites, in comparison to Starlink which currently has 1,200 satellites in orbit.
Earlier this week, OneWeb and Starlink’s satellites nearly crashed into each other in orbit, according to reports.
Starlink internet offer in India – price and availability
Starlink has started accepting pre-bookings for Indian addresses. The price has been set at $99 (approx. ₹7,300) towards deposit for the service. This payment is towards the Starlink equipment that will have to be installed at your address to access the internet service.
Once you make the payment, your priority access gets reserved in your location. This deposit is fully refundable, so even if you change your mind after paying, you can still get your money back.
Starlink accepts payments via debit and credit cards, as well as Apple Pay. However, Apply Pay is currently not available in India. Business Insider