Indian telecommunications laws have been rewritten in Starlink’s favour

Elon Musk said in June that he looking ahead to bring Starlink to India. And now he is likely to do just that, thanks to a bill passed by the Lok Sabha (lower house of parliament) on December 20 and the Rajya Sabha (upper house) on December 21.

Under the new telecommunications legislation, India will allow the allocation of spectrum for satellite-based services without the need to participate in auctions. Instead, players go through a management process.

This movement is supposed to benefit the likes of Starlink, as well as rivals including OneWeb and Amazons Kuiper, who have lobbied against the auction routeargued that the auctions increasing costs and delaying investment. Their position, in short, is that auctions make a cheap option more expensive.

Starlink, which has satellites that provide internet connectivity tomore than 40 countries, has been looking at the world’s most populous country for several years now. It has even started taking preorders for its devices October 2021. But a month ago, the Indian telecommunications department said that Starlink no license in the country, the registrations were stopped in their tracks.

Musk is probably happy with the new bill, which replaced two nearly century billsthe Indian Telegraph Act established in 1885 and the Wireless Telegraph Act of 1933 but it met with some backlash at home. Activists believe it gives the Narendra Modi-led government unprecedented powers to regulate telecom services and networks, including monitoring traffic data and intercepting communications. on the pretext of national security interest.

Company of interest: Reliance Jio

India’s richest man battles the world’s richest man in satellite broadband.

As global heavyweights rally against an auction system, Reliance Jio, the telco arm of the Mukesh Ambanis conglomerate, is in favor of auctions. The company says that an auction system will maintain a level playing field because foreign satellite service providers offer voice and data services, directly challenging traditional telcos and that without them, foreign companies are ready for runaway successlike Amazon in the Indian e-commerce market.

Jio is particularly interested in fending off competition after its launch own JioSpaceFibre on late October.

Satellite internet in India, by digits

140+: Opposition members of parliament faced suspension at the time the bill was passed.

5,000: Musks Starlink pre-orders received for its devices in January 2022, which had to be refunded because it had difficulty obtaining regulatory licenses.

200,000:Starlink terminals the company expects to have for India by the end of 2022, based on a commercial rollout starting in April 2022, according to a presentation shared by Starlinks then-India head Sanjay Bhargava in LinkedIn

2: Companies with Global Mobile Personal Communication via Satellite (GMPCS) license from the department of telecommunications Jio and Bharti Airtel-backed OneWebthat merged with the French company Eutelsat in September

4:Remote cities across India where JioSpaceFibre is now available. These include Gir in Gujarat, Korba in Chhattisgarh, Nabarangpur in Odisha, and OMGC-Jorhat in Assam.

47: About 64 submissions were made by TRAI calling for a non-auction route for spectrum allocation. A dozen respondents, including Jio, voted for an auction.

Quotable: Indian governments are increasing control over the internet in India

If internet services are included in the laws, then many alarming requirements related to monitoring, ownership, suspension, consent, etc. will also be applied to the services, deepening the threats. of our rights and freedoms. To avoid expanding or changing the interpretation of the scope in the future, the definition of telecommunications and telecommunications services, in the bill itself, should clearly exclude internet services.

Internet Freedom Foundation December 20 statement in the new bill

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