back to article Indian government warns locals not to use Starlink's internet services

The government of India has advised locals not to subscribe to SpaceX’s Starlink Internet service, revealing that it does not have a valid license to operate on the subcontinent. Starlink registered its business in India on November 1, actively engaged in advertising and even pre-sold subscriptions. But it has not secured a …

  1. Michael Hoffmann
    Meh

    Pre-orders to get foot in the door

    I had pre-ordered my Dishy McFlatface the moment I saw that the site was open. Can't for the life of me remember whether ACCC had issued a license of not, but I believe it was before.

    Just to make sure I got a foot in the door and have hope to give our NBN the finger.

    As a result I got my dish in the first round of deliveries - whereas others now have to wait until some time in 2022, due to SL also falling prey to supply problems.

    At worst, if ACCC had refused a license, I would have had to chase down my deposit. Don't really understand why the Indian government needs to get all shirty about pre-orders. Even if people managed to get a dish somewhere (which they normally can't until service exists at their address, barring dark channels), it wouldn't work until... service exists at their address!

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Dear Leader Elon

    will not be amused.

    His grand plan to get the whole world driving Teslas and using his walled garden of a comms network seems to have hit an iceberg. We don't know how big said berg is but...

    Lets go Emperor Elon the 1st.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      @AC - Re: Dear Leader Elon

      It seems the Emperor has a lot of subjects reading your post.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    it does not have a valid license

    because your gov (well, any) wants a finger in the pie, and an eye on the content provided from the sky. If the gov's not in control... CHAOS!

    1. John Robson Silver badge

      Re: it does not have a valid license

      Wouldn't be hard for them to put a ground station in india... in fact it would potentially be beneficial - I wonder how hard they could work it as a backbone out of india?

      1. vtcodger Silver badge

        Re: it does not have a valid license

        As with most things Musky, it's not all that easy to find technical details on Starlink. But I think it likely that the satellites in higher orbits mostly are there to act as relays -- which won't do wonders for latency, but would decrease the number of ground stations needed.

        As for needing a license. India either is, or will shortly be, the world's most populous country. Of course ground stations there will be needed. If not immediately, eventually. And licenses. And, one suspects, substantial bribes to India's notoriously corrupt bureaucracy. All in good time?

        1. Insert sadsack pun here

          Re: it does not have a valid license

          As with all things Musky, things like "licences" or "tax" or "transparency" are low down the list of "Things Elon Gives A Shit About".

          1. willyslick

            Re: it does not have a valid license

            Musk has the same situation in Germany where he is planning to open a Tesla factory, and where he has charged ahead in construction without having received a final permit to operate the factory. Worst case, he needs to dismantle everything again.....

            Perhaps he will need to find out the hard way that the "move fast and break things " credo does not necessarily have many adherents within the German construction ministry....

            But probably the loss of face for the German industry to deny the permit would be too much - thats what Musk is betting on....stay tuned.

            1. GrumpyKiwi

              Re: it does not have a valid license

              Germany has been contaminated by the "move like a snail on valium and still break things", hence Berlin Airport.

            2. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: it does not have a valid license

              It's arrogance, not for speed.

              Above the law, bad law, I know better, who gives a shit what the Germans think, I am Musk.

              Also golden opportunity to whine on Twitter about German govt and use mob mania to get his way.

              It is pretty obvious Musk is an attention whore, and has EQ issues.

              I mean how many people do you know calls a rescuer, who risked his life, a "paedo", purely out of spite, because their ego was bruised, when they most they did was type tweets in their luxury estate doling out some pitiful amount of money for their own PR? Meanwhile this rescuer is actually in caves saving lives.

            3. Alan Brown Silver badge

              Re: it does not have a valid license

              "without having received a final permit to operate the factory"

              He got an "agreement in principle" to do so. These are seldom withdrawn, unlike other parts of the worl

              Templehof is a completely different kettle of fish (or vat of Bratwurst), for utterly different causes (the same ones that had German farmers slipping NATO tank crews beer and pizza money to drive through rickety old barns so they'd be replaced with shiny new modern ones with the latest modern amenities)

          2. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: it does not have a valid license

            "things like "licences" or "tax" or "transparency" are low down the list of "Things Elon Gives A Shit About"."

            Because rules are for Other People, not visionaries (nor missionaries) like Musk. He can't be constrained by mortal worries, he's got boundaries to trample and money to make.

            </sarcasm>

    2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      Re: it does not have a valid license

      "because your gov (well, any) wants a finger in the pie, and an eye on the content provided from the sky. If the gov's not in control... CHAOS!"

      Are there any countries which don't regulate RF Comms other than in limited bands at very low power?

      1. Alan Brown Silver badge

        Re: it does not have a valid license

        India's control over RF is legendary, It was essentially impossible to be a ham in India until the 1970s and a huge amount of it is justified by war-footing paranoia regarding Pakistan ("spying")

        The USA has bureaucracy for bureaucracy sake. India has it as the true national sport and supreme religion

        1. Missing Semicolon Silver badge

          Re: it does not have a valid license

          There is a theory that when we colonise places we bring some disease. For South America, the Spanish and Portuguese brought the common cold. In India, we left bureaucracy.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: it does not have a valid license

      >> If the gov's not in control... CHAOS!

      Erm, in the world of RF, that really is true.

      Otherwise some corp will be using MW power in the direction of your home, another will use the cellular band and cause you to drop calls, your neighbour can use 1 W for their wifi, and another does not care that there is now a loud 2 KHz hum in your home speakers all day everyday. I bet you have no idea what a RF harmonic is.

      But yeah pff who needs facts..

      Bad govt!!! Freedom to do whatever!!! Anything Anywhere Anytime to Anyone!!!**

      ** T&C apply - My Freedom is more important than your freedom.

      1. zuckzuckgo Bronze badge

        Re: it does not have a valid license

        And it's not just local entities you have to worry about.

        If national and international RF regulations can just be ignored then any foreign corporate giant could broadcast from satellites passing over your country. Possibly interfering with essential services and preventing local organizations or individuals from using that band.

        I think most countries would consider such radio transmissions as an aggressive violation of sovereignty.

    4. Alan Brown Silver badge

      Re: it does not have a valid license

      You can't use wifi on international flights in Indian airspace either (but you'll be charged for the flight time as if you were using it anyway)

  4. Joe W Silver badge
    Boffin

    Rockstars...

    ... and satellites / space?

    Only if you are referring to Dr. Brian May[a]. Otherwise this term is just a BS-term, like "not making uncontrolled changes cuspid to a dual diurnal period of non-attendance."[0]

    [a] who at least is an astrophysicist - there might be others I am not aware of, though

    [0] https://www.theregister.com/2015/06/26/bofh_2015_episode_8/

    1. Steve K

      Re: Rockstars...

      Brian Cox too?

      1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        Re: Rockstars...

        Rocketstars? The only way is up?

        1. Phones Sheridan Bronze badge

          Re: Rockstars...

          Vengaboys, Rocket to Uranus.

  5. sreynolds Silver badge

    Like red bull to a rag....

    Given their usual compliance with laws, isn't that like encouraging those that can afford to do use the musk in a pizza box internet service?

    1. Alan Brown Silver badge

      Re: Like red bull to a rag....

      I'm kinda waiting for a ground station to be setup in Sri Lanka. It would ruffle feathers quite badly

      1. Dvon of Edzore

        Re: Like red bull to a rag....

        Ironic, considering Sri Lanka was the longtime home of the father of commsats, Sir Arthur Charles Clarke.

  6. MajDom

    Wait for the draconian measures by China and Russia...

    No way to plant a huge firewall between the truth and their minions, I'm sure the Chinese and Russian governments are planning quite the crackdown on dish boasting rebels. I'm sure the re-education infrastructure is underway.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      @MajDom - Re: Wait for the draconian measures by China and Russia...

      And why wouldn't they be ? It's not like US would welcome a Chinese Internet provider over their heads.

      1. MajDom

        Re: @MajDom - Wait for the draconian measures by China and Russia...

        Why would they need to? All Chinese content is accessible in the US. Freely. Unless the Chinese dictatorship censors their own propaganda from leaving the country, because of embarrassing and proven untruths.

      2. CrackedNoggin

        Re: @MajDom - Wait for the draconian measures by China and Russia...

        Until recently, CGTN could broadcast freely in the US and UK.

        Then ... "In November 2018, amid growing international criticism of China's imprisonment of hundreds of thousands of Uyghurs in internment camps, CGTN America aired a piece portraying the camps as successful vocational training and antiterrorism centers and Uyghurs as grateful. In addition, CGTN America has broadcast "exclusive" forced confessions of people accused of a wide variety of crimes in China, most notably the example of a Briton, Peter Humphrey."

        and things began to change after that.

        1. Alan Brown Silver badge

          Re: @MajDom - Wait for the draconian measures by China and Russia...

          "Until recently, CGTN could broadcast freely in the US and UK"

          They can no longer "broadcast" in the UK, but they're still streamable

          No idea if the USA is censoring them

  7. emfiliane

    Does India know something we don't?

    Or do they honestly believe that anyone signing up right now is going to get service right now? I have zero faith in the tiny 2022 projection at all, unless they push back other pre-orders specifically to concentrate on India. The regulators are seriously overstating their case.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Does India know something we don't?

      If people pay for what is at this time an illegal service, they are likely to not get their money back.

      So it makes sense for the regulator to warn the public that this is basically a scam at this point, as Starlink do not have anything to stand on to back their claims of delivering a satellite internet service by 2022.

      There is no way Starlink can know when they will be able to start their service, or if their service model meets the expectations from a legal and security perspective that the regulator is charged with. The trick here is to then blame the regulator for delays, in Muskian form, when in reality they are doing nothing to resolve it upfront.

      Regardless of what it could or should be, you honour the laws of the country. If you don't like it, don't choose to illegally do business there. There is an extraordinary arrogance in everything Elon Musk does. Why does he always think he is above law?

      I hope karma hits him and he sinks faster than the Theranos one.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Does India know something we don't?

        "I hope karma hits him and he sinks faster than the Theranos one."

        Please know that, in spirit, I have given you my entire allocation of upvotes for today for your post. You've hit the nail on the head.

  8. Uncle Ron

    License?

    "If you are going to sell satellite internet subscriptions in India," you must pay us--a lot. Plus regularly scheduled "protection" money. Plus a little extra for some stuff. Thanks.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: License?

      Sorry no - you follow the rules of the country.

      Starlink is not above the law.

      Corruption is illegal, so is starting a business without appropriate compliance.

      You cannot argue one illegal thing is an excuse for another.

      On a practical note, Starlink does not know what the bands licensed in India are, and the country cannot have a rogue party come in and start occupying RF bands that have been allocated or purposed, this might be military use and thus not published.

      So really even on the engineering and technical front, Starlink is totally wrong here.

  9. Randesigner

    Anonymous Coward = Anonymous Troll

    I don't see the issue here. Starlink has recently created a subsidiary to operate in India. The subidiary has applied for licenses. The government, like most, are taking their time approving licenses and coming up with conditions for the licenses. A person who has pre-ordered with their $99 deposit can get their money refunded at any time. If the licenses don't pan out, everyone will get their money back. There's nothing unlawful going on. A deposit is not a "sale".

    1. Missing Semicolon Silver badge

      Re: Anonymous Coward = Anonymous Troll

      It's a shot across the bows. India will have several conditions that Musk will hate. I can guess at 2:

      * Can't use the best frequencies - reserved for any future India-built solution.

      * All connections firewalled and content-filtered, with State snoop-taps installed.

      1. rajivdx

        Re: Anonymous Coward = Anonymous Troll

        Exactly! India, like China wants to control and snoop on its 'subjects'. A satellite based Internet service that can bypass such snoopery? 'Heavens no! Shut it down! How will we shut down dissent over farmers and Kashmir?'

POST COMMENT House rules

Not a member of The Register? Create a new account here.

  • Enter your comment

  • Add an icon

Anonymous cowards cannot choose their icon

Other stories you might like