According to Reuters, SpaceX’s Starlink head for India said earlier today that the company will apply early next year for a commercial license to provide broadband and other services in the country.
“We hope to have applied for a commercial license on or before 31st January 2022 (unless we hit some major roadblock),” Sanjay Bhargava, SpaceX’s Starlink Country Director for India, said in a LinkedIn post.
The news comes just a week after the Indian government instructed SpaceX to halt all of its Starlink efforts in the country immediately for the lack of a commercial license, and even advised residents against placing pre-orders for the service.
Following the move, Starlink stopped accepting pre-orders for its Starlink Kits, citing “pending regulatory approval” on its website.
Prior to being barred from conducting any kind of commercial activities, Starlink had already received over 5,000 pre-orders in India. According to a presentation bosted by Bhargava, SpaceX hopes to launch Starlink in India by April of next year and aims to have 200,000 Starlink devices in the country by December 2022.
Starlink is a high-speed satellite internet service from SpaceX, specially designed to service rural/remote locations and (affordably) bridge the connectivity gap across the world. India is going to be flush with competition in the low-Earth orbit (LEO) satellite internet space, with Starlink, Bharti Enterprises-backed OneWeb, Amazon’s Kuiper, and Tata-Telesat all vying for market share.
As of August, Starlink has over 90,000 users in 12 countries. Earlier this week, Sri Lanka’s Telecommunication Regulatory Commission announced it is also in talks with SpaceX to bring Starlink to the country.
Just yesterday, SpaceX successfully launched another batch of Starlink satellites into orbit from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station, as 48 went into space, for the company’s 27th Falcon 9 launch of 2021, a new record for the company.
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