Elon Musk’s Starlink registers India unit, plans to focus on rural areas

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Elon Musk backed Starlink has registered its business in India on Monday. The company is planning to launch internet services in the country, as per the company documents filed with the government. Starlink is the satellite internet division of billionaire Elon Musk’s rocket company SpaceX.

Having a local unit will help the company to apply for licenses which it needs to provide broadband and other satellite-based communication services.

Sanjay Bhargava, country director for Starlink, said in a Linkedin post, “Pleased to share that SpaceX now has a 100% owned subsidiary in India.”

“We can now start applying for licenses, open bank accounts, etc,” said Bhargava, who according to his LinkedIn profile joined the company only in October.

Starlink is one of a growing number of companies launching small satellites as part of a low-Earth orbiting network to provide low-latency broadband internet services around the world It’s focus to reach remote areas that terrestrial internet infrastructure struggles. Its competitors include Amazon.com’s Kuiper and OneWeb which is co-owned by the British government and India’s Bharti Enterprises.

In India, Starlink plans to “carry on the business of telecommunication services” including satellite broadband internet services, content storage and streaming, multi-media communication, among others, as per the company filing.

It will also deal in devices such as satellite phones, network equipment, wired and wireless communication devices, as well as data transmission and reception equipment, it said.

Will focus on rural areas

Starlink separately said it will focus on “catalyzing rural development” in India through its broadband services, according to a company presentation shared by Bhargava on LinkedIn over the weekend.

Once it is allowed to provide services, Starlink will, in the first phase, give 100 devices for free to schools in Delhi and nearby rural districts. It will then target 12 rural districts across India.

The company aims to have 200,000 Starlink devices in India by December 2022, 80% of which will be in rural districts, it said in the presentation. Starlink has already received over 5,000 pre-orders for its devices in India.

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