SpaceX’s Starlink Seeks Approval to Set Up Earth Stations in India

Starlink is seeking approval to install ground stations in India. This effort is the next step to develop in the country’s market and provide high-speed internet service.

SpaceX seeks permission in India

SpaceX’s Starlink has applied to the Indian National Space Promotion & Authorization Center (IN-SPACe) for permission to install ground stations. This was another step for the company towards entering the Indian market. Starlink previously applied to the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) for a Global Mobile Personal Communications Satellite Services (GMPCS) license. Officials with knowledge of the details told The Economic Times (ET) that the Home Office is conducting a security review of the Starlink GMPCS license. There is a possibility that it will be issued in a couple of months.

“They [Starlink] have [also] applied to IN-SPACe. The GMPCS application is under process,” a government official told ET.

India changed its space policy this year. Foreign entities are now allowed to build infrastructure and offer satellite communications services in India. Before that, they needed to get approval from IN-SPACe. India’s new 2023 space policy has authorized IN-SPACe to act as the only agency that allows the full range of space activities. This applies to both public and private satellite players.

If Starlink gets approved, it will have to wait for spectrum allocation from DoT. The company’s main competitor in the market, OneWeb, has already received all the approvals. However, it is still waiting for the spectrum. Reliance Jio’s satellite division has also received a GMPCS license from DoT.

Last year, SpaceX started operations in India. The company has even begun accepting pre-orders for Starlink. However, it was forced to return pre-order deposits. This came after the DoT asked SpaceX to first seek regulatory approval before accepting any pre-orders for its services. Since then, the company has withdrawn its pre-order announcement and applied for the necessary regulatory approvals.

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