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Starlink’s India foray on track

In order to get clearances for setting up earth stations, a primary requirement for its India foray, Elon Musk’s Starlink has applied to the Indian National Space Promotion & Authorisation Centre (IN-SPACe), reports Economic Times.

This US Company has already applied to DoT (department of telecommunications) for getting a GMPCS (global mobile personal communication by satellite services) licence. ET has got information that security check by home ministry is on and Starlink is likely to get GMPCS licence in about two months. Once Starlink starts operations in India it will have to compete with the likes of Reliance Jio’s satcom, Amazon and Bharti-group backed One Web.

What is Starlink basically?

Starlink is a satellite constellation using low earth orbit to deliver broadband internet. Other satellite internet service providers are just not up to the mark to match Starlink. Most satellite internet service providers rely on single geostationary satellite orbiting the earth 35786 km away and hence latency (round trip data time between the user and satellite) is high making internet service unsupportive of high data rate activities like streaming, gaming and video calling. Starlink on the other hand is constellation of thousands of satellites orbiting the earth 550km away. Because of low orbit of Starlink satellites, Starlink satellite internet service has low latency of 25 ms vs 600+ ms. Thus Starlink delivers high speed internet to users across the globe supportive of gaming, streaming and video calling.

Musk’s meeting with PM Modi working as a catalyst

When PM Modi went to US last month Musk got the opportunity to talk to him. After his meeting with PM Modi Musk shared not only his keenness to launch Starlink in India but also his wish that his electric vehicle company Tesla gets a foothold in India soon. Musk claimed that Starlink can provide high-speed internet to remote villages without internet or with high-speed internet lacking.

Rivalry between Reliance and Starlink has already started

Starlink is lobbying with Indian government to not auction the spectrum and Reliance is lobbying for quite the opposite. Starlink has reasoned that auction will impose geographical restrictions jacking up costs. It says that spectrum is natural resource and should be shared between companies. Starlink has referred to global trend of not auctioning spectrum and only assigning license to provide credence to their lobbying. Reliance is in complete disagreement with this view of Starlink and publically demanded auction of spectrum.

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