Elon Musk's Starlink Can Bring High-Speed Internet to India by 2021. Here's What's Stopping Them
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Elon Musk may have hinted at Tesla factories in India multiple times and never followed through, but his SpaceX's Starlink may be here before the cars ever do.
SpaceX has allegedly suggested that the Indian government should consider allowing satellite-based broadband technologies to operate in India by updating policies.
These recommendations were made by SpaceX in a reply to the consultation paper on Roadmap to Promote Broadband Connectivity and Enhanced Broadband Speed issued on August 20 by the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI), reports India Today.
If TRAI heeds to these recommendations, SpaceX may launch in India by 2021.
Responding to a TRAI consultation paper, SpaceX's Vice President for Satellite Government Affairs, Patricia Cooper, said that new technologies like Starlink might require consideration of updated rules, policies, and regulation. She also recommended suggestions including the encouragement of technology-neutral broadband definitions and assigning already-allocation frequencies for the use of satellite systems, reports NDTV.
“Starlink's early performance tests demonstrate that NGSO (Non-geostationary) satellite technology is clearly capable of meeting not only the current broadband definition, but also those increased criteria recommended by TRAI,” Cooper wrote in the filing dated September 21, says a report in Medianama.
The spokesperson for the company also mentioned that fixed terrestrial wires and wireless technologies came with an “inherent infrastructure expense based on a cost per kilometre” that made it difficult to scale.
“SpaceX does not require expensive ‘last-mile' fibre lines in order to deliver reliable high-speed broadband,” Cooper added. SpaceX has also asked for “blanket licensing” to allow multiple identical satellite terminals for broadband connectivity.
So, is Starlink coming next year? According to India Today's report, TRAI is mulling to introduce changes to its broadband infrastructure so that the penetration of high-speed internet reaches every nook and corner of the country.
Starlink is a satellite internet constellation being constructed by SpaceX which provides satellite Internet access. The constellation will consist of thousands of mass-produced small satellites in low Earth orbit, working in combination with ground transceivers. Currently, the website says that it is only "targeting service in the Northern U.S. and Canada in 2020, rapidly expanding to near global coverage of the populated world by 2021."