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Starlink launch in India: Speed, cost, how it works

Starlink, Elon Musk’s organization that gives satellite internet providers, is set to get a permit to begin working in India subsequent to clearing administrative obstacles. The administrations are supposed to help individuals living in rustic and distant regions.

What’s new

Starlink is supposed to get endorsement from the Indian government this week after it explains its shareholding example to the Division for Advancement of Industry and Interior Exchange. The Division of Media communications (Speck) may then give a letter of plan to Starlink. They will also need approval from the Indian National Space Promotion and Authorisation Centre to set up earth stations.

Starlink also submitted applications to the DoT in 2022 to conduct trials with a large number of user terminals and gateway stations for purposes including technology and capability demonstration, product stabilisation, and ecosystem development. However, the trials were not allowed.

Satellite communication, or satcom, can provide broadband speeds comparable to 4G, which is up to 100 megabits per second (Mbps), but not 5G, which is up to 10 gigabits per second (Gbps).

Starlink users typically experience download speeds between 25 and 220 Mbps, with a majority of users experiencing speeds of over 100 Mbps. Upload speeds are typically between 5 and 20 Mbps, according to its website. This technology is beneficial for consumers in remote areas that can’t be reached by traditional internet infrastructure such as towers or optical fibre.

One of the principal benefits of satellite correspondence is that establishment and arrangement are speedy and basic contrasted with conventional earthly organizations.

Starlink has suggested that satellite broadband connections are especially beneficial for schools and healthcare facilities. The company may initially consider providing internet services directly to customers but may also explore the enterprise segment. OneWeb is expected to focus more on the B2B segment.

The cost of Starlink’s service in India is currently unknown. However, according to details shared by the company’s former India head, the cost in the first year might be about Rs 1,58,000. The service cost will be Rs 1,15,000 from the second year including a 30 percent tax, since Starlink’s equipment is a one-time purchase. The user equipment’s base price is expected to be Rs 37,400 along with Rs 7,425 per month for services.
Satellite communication in India is currently in the early stages, but it has vast potential, especially in rural and remote regions. According to a report by EY-ISpA, India’s space economy is expected to expand at a compound annual growth rate of 6 percent to $13 billion by 2025.

Satellite internet services are provided mainly through single geostationary satellites that orbit the earth at a distance of 35,786 km. However, this results in a high round-trip data time between the user and the satellite, also known as latency. This high latency makes it difficult to support high data rate activities such as streaming, video calls, and online gaming.

Starlink works north of 5,000 dynamic satellites that communicate the web with generally low inactivity. The organization brags of being the world’s biggest and the principal satellite heavenly body to utilize low-earth circle to convey broadband web that upholds internet gaming, video calls, real time, and other comparable exercises.

Starlink is a constellation of thousands of satellites that orbit the planet much closer to earth, at about 550 km, and cover the entire globe. Because Starlink satellites are in a low orbit, latency is significantly lower — around 25 ms vs 600+ ms, as per the company’s website.

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