- SpaceX is offering the beta version of Starlink on pre-orders in India for a deposit of $99
2. BIF asked the government to stop Starlink beta offer as it does not have a suitable licence operate in India.
3. Besides regulations, DoT’s will scrutinise consumer interest and national security aspects of Starlink
4. The news of DoT scrutiny comes soon after industry lobby group Broadband India Forum (BIF) opposed Starlink’s India launch.
6. BIF represents industry giants like Google, Microsoft, Amazon, Facebook and Bharti Airtel-UK government-owned OneWeb.
Elon Musk’s Starlink internet service could be coming to India, but even before it establishes connectivity within the country, the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) has put it under scrutiny to examin whether it would be violating any of the country’s existing telecom and technology laws.
Specifically, the department is evaluating whether Starlink violates the Information Technology (IT) Act, 2000, the Indian Telegraph Act, 1885, the Indian Wireless Telegraphy Act, 1933, and the Satellite Communication (SatCom) Policy of India, 2000.
Apart from telecom regulations, the other aspects that are under the DoT’s scrutiny include consumer interest and national security.
Instersting fact is, the telecom department’s reported intervention in Starlink’s India plans since an objection created by Broadband India Forum’s (BIF) opposition regarding violation of the Information Technology (IT) Act, 2000, the Indian Telegraph Act, 1885, the Indian Wireless Telegraphy Act, 1933, and the Satellite Communication (SatCom) Policy of India, 2000.
BIF alleged that the Starlink internet service does not comply with India’s regulatory framework. The group petitioned the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) and Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) to intervene and prevent Starlink from launching its services in India.
The BIF is an independent policy forum and think-tank that represents the likes of Amazon, Hughes, Google, Microsoft, OneWeb and Facebook.
OneWeb, which is co-owned by Bharti Airtel and the UK government, is a direct competitor to Starlink and has plans to launch 648 satellites. In comparison, Starlink has 1200 satellites in orbit.
National Security and Consumer Interest Remain Big Factors For Indian Operations
A senior DoT official told ET that the government is assessing if Starlink beta service will violate any provision of the Indian Telegraph Act of 1885, the Indian Wireless Telegraphy Act of 1933 , India’s satcom policy of 2000 and the Information Technology (IT) Act of 2000. The official added that the offer does not “immediately appear” to violate the Section 4 of the Indian Telegraph Act as SpaceX is yet to establish, maintain or work a telegraph in Indian jurisdiction.
A ‘telegraph’, under the Act , is any appliance, instrument or apparatus used for transmission or reception of signals, images, data, and sounds/intelligence by wire or other electro-magnetics emissions, as per the report. The DoT is yet to firm up its final view regarding the Starlink offering.
Apart from the telecom regulations, the other aspects that are under the DoT’s scrutiny include consumer interest and national security.