Indian authorities order Elon Musk’s Starlink to refund clients

Jan 5, 2022: Billionaire businessman Elon Musk’s StarLink Satellite Internet Venture has told its members that the Indian government has asked the company to return all its pre-orders until it has a license to operate in the country.

“As always, you can get a refund at any time,” the company said in an email to one of its customers according to a report by Reuters on Tuesday, citing a copy of the e-mail seen by them.

Star Link, a division of Musk’s SpaceX Aerospace Company, has already received more than 5,000 pre-orders for its devices in India, but is struggling to obtain a commercial license without which it cannot offer services in the country. ۔ The company said in an email, “Unfortunately, the timeline for obtaining a working license is currently unknown, and there are a number of issues that need to be addressed with the licensing framework to enable us to run Starlink in India.”

“The StarLink team is looking forward to making StarLink available in India as soon as possible,” it said.

Starlink is one of a growing number of companies launching small satellites as part of a low-Earth orbital network to provide low-latency broadband Internet services worldwide, focusing exclusively on remote areas. As far as access to the ground Internet infrastructure is struggling. SpaceX has told investors that Starlink is striving for a $1 trillion market segment consisting of in-flight internet, maritime services, demand in China and India, and rural customers.

But the Indian government has advised people against subscribing to Starlink without a license and has ordered the company to refrain from providing bookings and services. Starlink plans to apply for a business license in India by the end of January, its head of state Sanjay Bhargava said in a social media post last month, and in a presentation that with the April rollout It has targeted 200,000 devices in India by December 2022.

However, in a LinkedIn post on Tuesday, Bhargava said he had resigned as country director and board chairman for “personal reasons”. According to his profile on the platform, he played the role till October.

In India, Starlink planned to “continue the business of telecommunication services” which includes satellite broadband internet services, content storage and streaming, multimedia communications, etc. It aims to deal with devices such as satellite phones, network equipment, wired and wireless communication devices, as well as data transmission and reception devices.

The company also said it would focus on “catalyzing rural development” in India through its broadband services, according to a company presentation shared by Bhargava on LinkedIn over the weekend.

Once it was allowed to provide services, the company initially planned to provide 100 free devices to schools in Delhi and nearby rural districts and then targeted 12 rural districts across India.

Starlink’s rivals include Amazon.com’s Kuiper and OneWeb – a collapsed satellite operator rescued by the British government and Bharti Group in India.

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