New Delhi | Jagran Technology Desk: Reliance Jio has undoubtedly become the most popular telecom brand in India as it provides internet facilities at quite cheap rates. However, Jio might soon face challenges in the market as Elon Musk's Starlink, the satellite broadband arm of SpaceX, is exploring ways to expand its ties with telecom firms in India, especially in rural areas. Speaking to news agency PTI, Starlink's Sanjay Bhargava said that the company will hold discussions with broadband service providers in India once 12 Phase-1 aspirational districts are identified by the Niti Aayog.

"I am hoping that we will get a time-bound 100 per cent broadband plan that can serve as a model for other districts but the devil is in the details and there may be many good reasons why one or more broadband providers do not want to collaborate, though to me that seems unlikely," he said, adding that the focus will be on 10 rural Lok Sabha constituencies.

For this, Starlink has also started pre-booking for the internet service. The company claims that it has received more than 5,000 pre-orders in India and is charging a deposit of Rs 7,350 per customer. According to reports, Starlink might provide its services at subsidised rates that might help it give competition to Reliance Jio and Jio Fiber.

Starlink said that it will provide data speeds between 50 to 150 megabits per second. However, the speed will likely be increased to 1 gigabit per second once the Starlink satellite is installed in low-Earth orbit, as per a media report.

Meanwhile, Bhargava said that Starlink will roll out its services in a phased manner. He also told PTI that the company is not actively thinking about making terminals for broadband locally, squashing reports that Starlink is considering the manufacturing of terminals to provide satellite broadband services in India.

"At Starlink, we can roll out fast if we have licensing approval and... the Starlink could move to other remote areas," he noted. "We want to collaborate with all and have others besides us licensed to provide satellite broadband so that satellite plus terrestrial together can provide 100 per cent broadband, especially in rural districts".

Posted By: Aalok Sensharma