Elon Musk’s SpaceX to bring satellite Internet to rural areas of India

           Elon Musk’s SpaceX has been working on bringing the internet with Starlink, which will use satellites in the lower Earth orbit from space to complete the task. Currently, there is speculation that Starlink might have plans to launch the connection in India as the company has responded to the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India’s (TRAI) consultation paper, which is about the roadmap to “Promote Broadband Connectivity and Enhanced Broadband.”

MediaNama, a mobile and digital news portal, has first highlighted Starlink’s response to TRAI’s paper, and the same PDF can be found on TRAI’s official website as well. In August 2020, TRAI has put out the paper and was expecting responses from concerned parties, which is typical in such consultations. SpaceX

 has made a submission based on this context.

The submission of the response is made by Patricia Cooper, the Vice President of Satellite Government Affairs at SpaceX. “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”- Cooper said in the submission. She also stated that SpaceX’s solution is also planning to get rid of many of the high-costs associated with traditional wired broadband. 

The response also states that expensive ‘last-mile’ fiber lines are not needed to deliver reliable high-speed broadband. Moreover, this ‘last-mile’ for SpaceX’s Starlink satellite system consists of the Ku-band connection, which directly connects the consumer’s home to a satellite in orbit, which entirely eliminates the largest cost inhibitor to near-term universal broadband coverage in India. In its letter to SpaceX, TRAIhas also asked for “blanket” licensing tools and a “band-splitting” model, which lead to private telecom operators in India to share the spectrum. Due to the Indian Space Research Organisation’s draft that floated last month, still, there is an uncertainty remaining over whether SpaceX’s Starlink will be introduced in India or not. The existing Satellite Communication Policy is expected to replace the Space-Based Communication Policy of India. Foreign companies are barred from introducing their satellite-based broadband from India, based on the draft guidelines.

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