Elon Musk-backed Starlink Satellite Communications will soon apply for permission to conduct trials for its satellite-based broadband services in India.

The company has officially been registered in India as of November 1, which will enable it to restart the pre-booking for consumers.

Starlink had started taking advance registration from consumers but faced objections from the industry as the company is yet to get a licence for offering services in the country. Star Link's Country Director Sanjay Bhargava countered this and said that now that the company is an incorporated Indian entity, it can resume the pre-order process for customers who want to experience its services on a first-come first-serve basis.

The next steps for Elon Musk’s venture is to apply for a trial licence and subsequently for a restricted commercial licence to provide broadband services using its constellation of low-earth orbit (LEO) satellites.

Bhargava said the plan is to operate 100 Starlink connections on a trial basis initially. 20 of these will be in Delhi schools and the remaining in one aspirational district near the capital city.

Using LEOs to provide broadband services is the next disrupter in the broadband market. Where a constellation of low-earth orbit satellites can be used to beam Internet into the most remote corners of the world, where traditional technologies for broadband connectivity, such as optical fibre cannot reach. For Bhargava, the main thrust of Starlink in India will be rural connectivity, “The debate (for telecom and broadband connectivity) in India must change from price to increased access,” Bhargava said.

Starlink’s target is to get 200,000 terminals active by December 2022, of which 80 per cent will be in 10 rural Lok Sabha constituencies. Bhargava also said the company is in talks with the NITI Aayog, to use Starlink broadband connectivity for a variety of innovations for the rural economy, where it will focus on 12 aspirational districts.

Bhargava also said he is in conversation with and plans to speak with the leadership of major telecom services providers to collaborate with them to further rural connectivity. “I am speaking with telecom operators- Vodafone, Bharatnet, Airtel Jio, because all of us have to go together to do this, there is an unlimited market and it is in all our interest,” Bhargava said.