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Elon Musk's Starlink starts refunding $99 deposits to Indians after govt order

In an email, the firm stated that it had been asked by the Department of Telecom (DoT) to return money received from pre-orders until it was granted a licence to operate in the nation.

Elon Musk Starlink starts refunding USD 99 deposits to Indians after govt order gcw
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New Delhi, First Published Jan 4, 2022, 6:50 PM IST
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Starlink Internet Services, Elon Musk's SpaceX's broadband internet business, has begun refunding pre-orders for internet services in India. Customers who placed early orders for the service paid $99 (Rs 7,400) to Starlink. In an email, the firm stated that it had been asked by the Department of Telecom (DoT) to return money received from pre-orders until it was granted a licence to operate in the nation. According to sources, Starlink's email stated that India's Department had asked Telecommunications (DoT) to refund pre-orders until they were licenced.

Musk previously stated in response to a Twitter user that Starlink was ironing out the regulatory process in the nation before launching the service. The corporation intended to introduce services in ten Lok Sabha constituencies, and India was a crucial market in its expansion aspirations. In an email, the broadband internet business stated that getting regulatory permits in India is "currently uncertain" due to "many challenges" that must be handled before the service can be launched in the nation.

Also Read | Elon Musk’s satellite internet division Starlink registers in India, will focus on rural development

Premium internet in India was projected to cost about Rs 1.58 lakh per user terminal in the first year and around Rs 1.15 lakh after that. The first-year cost estimate for a Starlink terminal in India is Rs 1.58 lakh, which comprises $499 (Rs 37,400) for user equipment, a monthly $99 service charge (Rs 7,425 approx) payable over a year, and 30% local taxes. The firm had ceased accepting pre-orders after the DoT encouraged citizens not to subscribe to the service, citing a lack of regulatory permits from the government.

According to the government's public statement, Starlink is not permitted to provide such services in the nation. The DoT has also ordered the corporation to follow the regulatory framework for supplying the service in India and to stop booking or providing internet access in India "with immediate effect."

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