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DoT Starts Scrutiny of Elon Musk’s Starlink Satellite Internet Service in India

April 23, 2021

Elon Musk
Elon Musk’s Starlink satellite internet service offer in India faces regulatory scrutiny. Image: Business Insider

The Department of Telecommunications (DoT) has started scrutinizing Elon Musk-led SpaceX’s offer to pre-sell its Starlink satellite internet service in India to know if it flouts any of the country’s existing telecom and technology laws. Thus, DoT is intending to evaluate beforehand if the Starlink beta service offer violates any provisions of the Indian Telegraph Act, 1885, the Indian Wireless Telegraphy Act, 1933, India’s satcom policy, 2000, and the Information Technology (IT) Act, 2000, the Economic Times mentioned in a report citing a senior DoT official.

He added though that the offer does not “immediately appear” to violate Section 4 of the Indian Telegraph Act, 1885, “as SpaceX is yet to establish, maintain or work a telegraph in the Indian jurisdiction”.

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A ‘telegraph’, under the Act, is any appliance, instrument, or apparatus used for transmission or reception of signals, images, data, and sounds/intelligence by wire or other electro-magnetic emissions. However, the DoT is yet to finalize its final views on the matter, as mentioned in the report.

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“We are trying to examine if Starlink’s offer legally flouts any existing Indian telecom/technology regulations as the company appears to be offering an advance booking option for a future satellite internet service to Indian consumers and is not immediately selling a product or rendering a service,” the leading daily quoted another senior official as saying.