The Indian government has advised its citizens to not subscribe to services offered by Starlink Internet Services, as it is operating in the country without a license. For those unfamiliar, Starlink is a division under Elon Musk’s SpaceX aerospace company that offers a satellite internet connection worldwide.
The company and service has been told to comply with local regulations, as well as to stop bookings and rendering of its internet services. Starlink was registered in India on 1 November and has since begun advertising and pre-selling the satellite broadband offering.
The low-orbit satellite internet service is aiming for 200,000 devices in India by the end of 2022, with most being in rural districts. It has already received more than 5000 pre-orders as of 1 November. Starlink also promised that once it gets approval from the government, it will give away 100 free devices to 12 rural schools across the country.
SpaceX already has public beta programmes of Starlink running in several countries, with Malaysia tentatively getting coverage in 2022. It has already begun accepting a US$99 (~RM419) deposit for the service locally, but has yet to receive approval from the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC).
Starlink aims to launch a constellation of 12,000 satellites into low Earth orbit to provide internet coverage to those in remote and local areas, with the idea being that you can get an internet connection anywhere in the world — as long as you have a power source with no trees blocking the sky.
Using the service requires the company’s antenna dish and Wi-Fi router, which costs US$599 (~RM2539) for the kit and a US$99 (~RM419) monthly subscription fee. Starlink’s competitors include Amazon’s Kuiper and OneWeb, which is co-owned by the British government and India’s Bharti Enterprises.
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