Musk and Bezos set to bring broadband to India, Telecom News, ET Telecom

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NEW DELHI: and, the two richest businessmen in the world, set to take on Sunil Mittal of Airtel and Mukesh Ambani of Reliance over broadband and internet as they approached the government Indian with separate plans to offer satellite internet connectivity.

Sources said that Musk’s satellite internet company, Starlink, and Amazon have held separate consultations with the Ministry of Telecommunications – as well as the Ministry of Space – to launch satellite internet services in India, “although they have not yet applied for a license through the formal route.”

“Consultants representing companies have had discussions with us and have indicated that they are interested in providing Internet service in India using a constellation of satellites. We expect them to apply for the license very soon, ”a source from the telecommunications department said.

Currently, OneWeb – where Mittal’s Bharti Global has the largest stake and has partners such as the UK government – has publicly announced its intention to launch satellite services in India by next year (also launching in to other regions of the world). OneWeb has received a National Long Distance (NLD) license from the Department of Telecommunications.

The companies’ plan is to offer wide bands of bandwidth – with speeds of up to 1 GBPS and more – via low earth orbit (LEO) satellites that would be deployed at a distance of around 1,000 km. of the earth.

The bandwidth would then be sold to a variety of users / customers which will include trading companies, railways, shipping lines, defense establishments, airlines and telecommunications companies, thus competing directly with Airtel and Jio.

In addition, these services can be used to reach dark areas of rural areas, as well as difficult terrain such as deserts and mountainous areas, and those infested with naxals and other sensitive locations.

The telecom department source said companies will need to follow the stipulated guidelines for telecom services as they start their services. “All warrants, including those relating to lawful interception and other security needs, will have to be fulfilled in accordance with the license conditions.”

Musk has publicly stated that his company is keen to come to India as part of its ambitious Starlink project and is studying government regulations for entry-level services. “I just figured out the regulatory approval process,” he recently told a Twitter user when asked about India’s plans.

In fact, Starlink has appointed – a “founding employee” of (where Musk was among the co-founders) – as “country director” for India.

Bhargava, who joined the company from Friday, said on his LinkedIn page a few days ago: “Very happy to join effective October 1, 2021, as Country Director of Starlink India. Worked with @elonmusk in the founding team of PayPal. I have been in India since 2004 and Starlink and I share a common passion to support a transformed India
starting with rural India.

Amazon, also a leading online retailer in India, is looking to get into satellite internet service in the country. The company, according to sources, believes that a larger footprint in India through broadband will help it reach a wider online audience, which may also be another catalyst for its retail business.

Amazon will obtain its services in India through its “Project Kuiper” program which has committed to launching satellites into low earth orbit to cover the entire globe.

A few weeks ago, Mittal’s OneWeb and American Hughes Network reached a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for a strategic agreement to distribute Internet services to large businesses, small and medium businesses, government, operators. telecommunications providers and ISPs (Internet Service Providers) in rural and remote areas of the country.


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