Starlink’s Final Hurdle Is Cleared with India Launch 

Elon Musk’s Starlink has finally received initial approval from the Indian telecom service ministry, taking the billionaire's project.

Elon Musk’s Starlink has finally received initial approval from the Indian telecom service ministry, taking the billionaire’s internet project closer in its global service expansion. 

This move comes ahead of the billionaire’s meeting with the Prime Minister of India, Narenda Modi, expected to involve important announcements, including the launch of Starlink as well as investments ranging from $2 billion to $3 billion in the country.  The news marks a breakthrough for Musk’s project as it has been tackling challenges for almost three years.  

According to sources familiar with this matter, the approval process is currently pending a final review to be done by the Indian ministry regarding specific security issues. 

For its part, India’s Ministry of Communications has assessed the commercial aspects of Starlink’s application, such as net worth and foreign investment, determining that it meets the country’s official guidelines. The technical requirements have been reviewed to ensure compliance with licensing conditions. 

One of the major concerns of the Indian government was related to the ownership of Starlink, focusing on the fact that it had no stakeholders from countries that share a land border with India.  

In parallel, SpaceX’s satellite internet project has submitted a statement regarding its ownership, and effectively resolved this issue. 

Modi’s Ministry of Communications has placed specific obligations on Starlink, including requirements that Know Your Customer (KYC) details and customer information of Indian telecom service users shall remain within the country. As for security, India requires a commitment from Starlink that all traffic over Indian airspace and waters must only terminate at a local gateway, as well as data transmissions from satellites must only land in India and should not be directed to foreign shores due to satellite movement. 

Once the last approval is given by the Minister of communications, Ashwini Vaishnaw, Starlink will receive a Global Mobile Personal Communication by Satellite (GMPCS) services license, mandatory for providing satellite communications in India.  

Other companies, like OneWeb – supported by Bharti Airtel’s Sunil Mittal, and Mukesh Ambani’s Jio – in collaboration with Luxembourg-based SES, have already obtained GMPCS licenses. 

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