Tesla chief Elon Musk met Prime Minister Narendra Modi in the US on Wednesday. After the meeting, Musk expressed his interest in setting up new projects in India and also hinted at bringing “Starlink”, a satellite internet service provided by SpaceX, which he also owns, to India.
According to a report in ANI, Musk expressed interest in bringing connectivity to remote areas in India. “I think India has more potential than any other big country in the world,” he said. Musk also mentioned the potential of Starlink internet service, saying it could be incredibly useful for remote or rural villages Can be useful where Internet access is either non-existent or extremely expensive and slow. “Starlink internet, which I think can be incredibly helpful for remote or rural villages where there is either no access to the internet or internet is very expensive and slow,” he said.
Note: Starlink is planning to expand its network across the world and India is one of the major countries to take forward its plan. In March, the company successfully launched a group of 52 Starlink Internet satellites into orbit from Vandenberg Space Force Base in California. The company plans to place a total of 12,000 satellites in low Earth orbit.
Starlink has already sought permission to deploy an additional 30,000 satellites as part of plans to expand its satellite network. This is in line with the company’s goal of providing global coverage and addressing the challenges of delivering Internet connectivity to remote areas where traditional infrastructure is limited or unavailable.
Starlink claims that its network can provide “high-speed and low-latency Internet” to users around the world as it uses advanced satellites and user hardware that will be supported by experience operating both on spacecraft and in orbit . The company is also deploying its services to provide internet on flights.
But the point is this. Starlink’s plan to build its network across India is currently in conflict with Ambani’s Reliance. According to a Reuters report, the tussle between Elon Musk’s Starlink and Mukesh Ambani’s Reliance over the distribution of satellite broadband spectrum in India is intensifying. On the one hand, Starlink has been urging the Indian government to license satellite broadband spectrum without auctions, saying it is a natural resource that should be shared among companies. They argue that auctions could lead to geographic restrictions and cost overruns.
On the other hand, Reliance disagrees with the idea of holding the auction and supports it. Mukesh Ambani’s company argues that foreign satellite service providers, including Starlink, can provide voice and data services, thereby creating competition for traditional telecom players. Reliance believes that auction is necessary to ensure a level playing field for all participants. Reportedly, instead of meeting the demands of foreign companies, Reliance keeps urging the Government of India to conduct auctions for satellite spectrum.