SpaceX is seeking a permit from the FCC to provide broadband services using its Starlink satellite constellation. The company has been testing the system for several years and says it is now ready to offer commercial service. But some experts are skeptical that the system will work as advertised.

SpaceX has applied for a permit from the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to provide broadband services using its Starlink satellite constellation. The company has been testing the system for several years and says it is now ready to offer commercial service.

But some experts are skeptical that the system will work as advertised. They say that SpaceX has not released enough data about the performance of its satellites and ground infrastructure. And they worry that the system could create interference problems for other users of the electromagnetic spectrum.

According to people familiar with the matter, SpaceX will apply to the Department of Telecommunications for a global personal communications satellite services (GMPCS), permit to launch broadband services from space in India. This move will put Elon Musk’s company up against the likes OneWeb, Reliance Infocomm and others for a piece of the emerging market. It is expected to be worth $13B by 2025.
SpaceX will become the third company, after OneWeb and Reliance Joo’s satellite arm, to apply for this key permit to roll out high speed space internet services to India using its global constellation low earth orbit satellites (LEO).

ET was informed by a source that SpaceX would very soon apply for a GMPCS license to India to launch satellite broadband service in the country. Separately, SpaceX will be applying for a GMPCS licence to the Indian authorities.

This clearance is essential for SpaceX in order to set up in-country satellite gateways and also to deploy its global bandwidth capacity in India. The Indian National Space Promotion & Authorisation Centre will need to approve these clearances. This central regulatory body is mandated to attract private capital to the space sector.

According to people familiar with the matter, SpaceX will likely seek approvals from DoT for local gateways.

ET’s inquiries to SpaceX were still unanswered at press time. According to the company’s website, Starlink is currently not available in India due to pending regulatory approvals. It stated that coverage would expand to India once approvals are granted.

SpaceX’s Indian division was forced by the communications ministry to withdraw its plan to accept pre-orders for the upcoming satellite broadband services. It didn’t have an operating licence.