Elon Musk-led SpaceX has written to the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) urging to facilitate approvals to use satellite technology for internet access in remote areas. “While existing telecommunications networks have performed well to meet [internet access] needs in many areas, billions that live in the most rural and remote areas, and even those in urban environments, remain on the wrong side of the digital divide. Powerful next-generation satellite systems flying today that can reach all corners of the country with high-speed, affordable service are critical to bridging this gap,” Patricia Cooper, Vice President, Satellite Government Affairs at SpaceX, said in a filing with the TRAI.
Cooper's comments were in response to a TRAI consultation on enhancing broadband access and penetration in India. The letter comes in the backdrop of SpaceX public beta testing of Starlink, the company’s upcoming satellite internet service. A constellation of over 4,400 satellites providing internet access at tens of megabits per second at reasonably low latency, SpaceX opened the Starlink public beta last month.
Starlink is the latest innovation that has got the attention of techies and experts around the world. With the broadband satellite internet service, Musk's space company pushes to offer fast internet speeds to rural customers with limited options with the help of more than 800 satellites that SpaceX has launched. The service is being offered to test users in the US for $99 a month, plus $499 for a setup kit, it was reported last month.