Telecommunications nonprofit seeks “criminal case” against Starlink by Elon Musk, Telecom News, ET Telecom

NEW DELHI: Telecom Watchdog, a non-profit organization, requested the intervention of the industry regulator to file a criminal complaint against SpaceX, owned by Elon Musk, for cheating following the company’s pre-booking of spatial broadband plans for consumers in India.

In a letter to the Secretary of the Telecommunications Regulatory Authority of India, V Raghunandan, dated September 29, the organization said: “You are urged to take immediate action to end this illegal activity of Starlink ; and to order the filing of criminal proceedings against the company under section 420. of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) for cheating.

The organization further called on the telecommunications regulator to take effective measures to secure repayment with interest and to reprimand officials of the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) for “inaction” on the ongoing issue.

This is one of two letters she sent to telecommunications authorities asking for action against US space company SpaceX, which owns Starlink. Earlier, in an identical letter to the secretary of the DoT, the nonprofit said the company was cheating consumers by accepting pre-orders with a down payment of Rs 7,500 ($ 100) for a service to be launched.

“We are writing to you to underline a very serious event in which the
consumers are deceived by a foreign company – Starlink Internet Services Limited registered in Ireland, a tax haven, “the letter claims.

Starlink, according to Telecom Watchdog, has not yet received a license to provide satellite or satcom communication services in India.

The organization, however, further believes that the Musk-owned company adopted unethical business practices and that it was only after the deposit was made that customers could see the terms and conditions.

Following payment for the required service, consumers are informed that the company “does not guarantee” when the services would be made available, and the rate would be communicated later.

As of March 2021, the company is accepting pre-bookings for high-speed internet service, broadcast from a constellation of multiple low-earth orbit (LEO) satellites, with services likely to be available by 2022 in India.

The multinational company recently appointed Sanjay Bhargava as country manager to smooth its foray into India.

Bhargava, in his post on LinkedIn, said SpaceX will focus on ten rural constituencies of Lok Sabha, and also indicated his intention to meet with ministers, lawmakers and bureaucrats to work on improving broadband penetration. .

Starlink said more than 5,000 terminals have already been pre-ordered for the country and claims to manufacture up to 200,000 active terminals in India by December 2022.

OneWeb, a UK-based rival to Starlink, aims to have more than 600 satellites by 2022 to provide broadband space services around the world. In 2020, the UK government invested $ 500 million in OneWeb.

Sunil Mittal of Bharti Airtel, which is investing $ 1 billion in OneWeb, also aims to roll out satcom services by mid 2022 in India, which could make the satcom market more competitive.

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