Elon Musk’s satellite network Starlink seemed poised to enter the Indian market in 2024, but it might be facing some delays in getting a license in the country due to the problems the Indian government faced during the Verizon case, according to an Economic Times report.
As per the ET report, Starlink is currently facing a delay in obtaining the license to launch its satellite internet network in India due to a past case pertaining to US telecom company Verizon Communications,
US privacy laws seem to be at the root of the delay. Indian government rules require full disclosure of company ownership while granting the license.
Starlink has hit a glitch here as privacy laws prevent it from sharing the ownership details of SpaceX, its parent company, reported ET.
Starlink has provided a declaration to the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) in India asserting that none of its shareholders are from countries that share a land border with India, which seems to be a key contention issue.
Verizon’s problems obtaining a license in India
Verizon Communications India was in a similar situation to Starlink last year when it had sent a declaration to DoT for renewing its Internet Service Provider (ISP) license.
In the declaration, Verizon stated that none of its shareholders are from countries that share a land border with India.
During its license renewal process, it was found that Verizon had shareholders from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Hong Kong.
Shareholding from entities in these countries was less than one percent of the company.
Due to this, the Indian government advised Verizon to to apply through the government approval route for license renewal.
The Department for Promotion of Industry & Internal Trade (DPIIT) decided to amend the Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) policy in 2020 due to the Verizon case.
Starlink’s prime competition in India is set to be Eutelsat OneWeb and Reliance Jio’s satcom venture, which have already got the required licenses to operate in India.
Amazon founder Jeff Bezos’s Project Kuiper is also seeking its permits from the Indian government.
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