The government of India advised people against subscribing to Starlink Internet Services, a division of billionaire Elon Musk's SpaceX aerospace company.
SpaceX’s satellite broadband arm is not licensed in India to offer satellite-based internet services in India and stands barred to offer any such services in the country, the department of telecommunications (DoT) warned.
DoT has directed Starlink to comply with the regulatory framework for offering satellite-based communication services, and refrain from booking/rendering the satellite internet services in India "with immediate effect".
In a statement, the government said it has come to notice that Starlink has started pre-selling/booking the satellite-based Starlink Internet Services in the country. The same is also evident from the website of Starlink wherein satellite-based internet services can be booked by users in Indian territory, the DoT observed.
Following the warning the satellite-internet provider has stopped pre-booking in India for its upcoming service, a report in Economic Times said.
The satellite communications (Satcom) company had been taking preorders for services for various locations across Delhi-NCR, Mumbai, and Pune, according to its official website.
Recently, Starlink Country Director for India Sanjay Bhargava, in a social media post earlier, had said that the pre-order from India has crossed 5,000 and the company is keen to work in rural areas for providing broadband services.
Taking the first official step towards launching full-fledged operations in the Indian market and falling in line with local laws, Elon Musk’s Starlink Internet Services has applied for a licence to begin pilot services.
The current application by Starlink is for getting an “experimental licence”, which would help the company to carry out a pilot of its technology with a limited set of subscribers, “but still with no authority to launch commercial services or on-board paid customers”, Times of India reported quoting unnamed sources.
Meanwhile, NGO Telecom Watchdog has written to DoT seeking a criminal case to be filed against the Elon Musk-owned Starlink, for allegedly charging people in India for satellite Internet services without having a licence for the same.