Elon Musk’s SpaceX may bring high-speed Starlink satellite broadband to India by 2021

SpaceX Technologies, Elon Musk’s billionaire aerospace company, is considering bringing its satellite Internet service called Starlink to India. SpaceX has suggested that the Indian government should consider allowing satellite broadband technologies to operate in India by updating policies. These recommendations were made by SpaceX in a response to the Roadmap Consultation Paper to Promote Broadband Connectivity and Enhanced Broadband Speed ​​published Aug.20 by the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI). If TRAI takes these recommendations into account, SpaceX plans to launch Starlink in India by 2021.

In response to TRAI’s consultation paper, SpaceX Vice President of Satellite Government Affairs Patricia Cooper said that TRAI and other government agencies in India have recognized the role of satellite services in the rapid deployment of “new telecommunications technologies and services. for consumers “. If the government can change policies to allow satellite services, Starlink will “promote the goal of providing short-term broadband connectivity to all Indians”, even those who do not have access to broadband services now or in the near future. future.

What did SpaceX recommend to TRAI?

Cooper wrote a series of points favoring the approval SpaceX is asking the government to begin its satellite services in India. His recommendations include:

  • Encourage technologically neutral broadband definitions that reflect advances in next generation satellite services;
  • Allocation of frequencies already assigned for use by satellite systems;
  • Extension of “global” licensing tools to support the wide availability of satellite user terminals;
  • Promote maximum spectrum efficiency by expecting users to coordinate the use of scarce spectrum resources across multiple systems, terrestrial or space-based;
  • Safeguard continuous satellite innovation in the higher frequency bands, maintaining the expectation that all users of the spectrum, terrestrial and space, coordinate in good faith; is,
  • Considering the unintended tariffs, taxes and other administrative burdens that, when passed on to end users, can make broadband inaccessible for many.

Why does TRAI ask for advice?

TRAI is considering making changes to its broadband infrastructure so that high-speed Internet penetration reaches every corner of the country. This includes improvements the government is seeking from various players in the wireless and wired connection market, including a new method that uses satellite communication. Satellite communication, in particular, is a proposal that the Department of Space has presented to the government.

Last month the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) presented a draft to replace the satellite communications policy with India’s space communications policy. There are several guidelines and standards in this draft that the government will review and likely implement as part of its next generation communications policy. Some of these guidelines prevent foreign players from entering India’s satellite communications realm. This is to say that only Indian entities will have the privilege of using satellite communications in India.

This draft creates a problem for companies like SpaceX that are not based in India. Starlink satellite services are available in the United States, but the company wants to extend them to a larger area that is sure to have underserved areas, including those from India and other developing countries. This is one of the reasons why Starlink suggests policy changes.

What is Starlink?

Starlink is a constellation of 4,400 satellites in non-geostationary orbit (NGSO) that combine space operations technology to transmit high-quality Internet to receivers located in various locations in India. This internet connection is low-latency and high-speed, but very affordable compared to regular fiber-optic broadband that is charged on the system on a cost-per-kilometer basis. These satellites were launched by SpaceX in about 16 months, now forming what is the largest operational cluster by more than a factor of two.

In the United States, Starlink’s satellite internet is available to select users based on limited public release, but the company is planning a US increase and international launch of Starlink services.

In India, Starlink is projecting a 2021 timeline, when it will be on track with the deployment of constellations for continuous satellite communication, but this is subject to regulatory approvals, for which recommendations were provided in the response to the consultation paper. BETWEEN.

SpaceX responded to the consultation document released by the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) to enable satellite services.

News Underline:

  • SpaceX urges the government to change policies to allow satellite communications.
  • He has made several recommendations that he wants India to take into account to ensure low-cost broadband connections.
  • SpaceX is apparently planning to introduce Starlink satellite services in India.