On the morning of November 1, Beijing time, it was reported that SpaceX hopes to provide its Starlink satellite Internet access service in rural India.
Sanjay Bhargava, Director of SpaceX India, shared a video presentation via a LinkedIn post outlining a new plan for SpaceX. The company will launch Starlink broadband services to rural communities in India next year. The company will initially launch a three-stage pilot service.
Bahajwa said: “The Starlink project hopes to provide services for those who cannot access the Internet. We need to cooperate with broadband providers and solution providers in aspiring regions to improve people’s lives.”
In the first phase of Starlink’s launch, SpaceX plans to provide 100 sets of Starlink hardware kits for free to rural communities in India. These kits include a phased array dish antenna and Wi-Fi router to access satellite networks. Among them, 20 Starlink kits will be delivered to schools in Delhi and 80 will be delivered to schools in rural areas near Delhi.
In the second phase, Starlink representatives will work with local leaders to identify 12 rural areas across India, with three in each area, namely, the north, the south, the east, and the west.
By the end of 2022, the company’s third phase goal is to operate at least 200,000 Starlink devices, of which 160,000 are in rural communities in India. This plan will pave the way for the Indian telecommunications authority to grant SpaceX a commercial Internet provider license in order to expand the service to more customers.
SpaceX operates a broadband constellation consisting of nearly 1,800 satellites that operate in low earth orbit and have provided Internet connection services to more than 100,000 customers in at least 15 countries. The company has received more than 500,000 service reservations.
Bahajwa said that more than 5,000 Starlink bookings came from customers living in India. They are providing services to specific customers based on coverage capabilities and the principle of “first come, first served”. SpaceX is accepting pre-orders through Starlink.com.
Bahajwa emphasized in a series of posts on LinkedIn that Starlink is still awaiting approval from the Indian government’s regulatory authorities. They plan to launch a pilot program in rural areas first, and then promote the satellite Internet service throughout India.
He said: “Politicians and officials who are interested in cooperating with Starlink and other broadband providers are welcome to contact me. India is expected to become a huge broadband market opportunity for SpaceX, because nearly 75% of rural areas in India cannot access the Internet. Mobile services are also not available. SpaceX can enter a new market and help people gain access to this important telecommunications facility in the 21st century.”