Elon Musk has praised Starlink India Director Sanjay Bhargava for his ambitious project to provide high-speed Internet to rural areas, saying he has “much respect” for Bhargava. Musk said Bhargava deserves a lot of credit for PayPal's success and that he is now helping SpaceX serve rural communities in India. Bhargava, who took charge of SpaceX's satellite broadband operation in India last month, previously worked with Musk on the electronic payment firm. SpaceX's Starlink operates a constellation of satellites in low Earth orbit that beam internet to the ground. The company plans to launch its services in India very soon.
Musk's praise for Bhargava came as a response to a report on how SpaceX plans to provide Starlink Internet to rural India. “Sanjay deserves a lot of credit for making X/PayPal succeed. Now helping SpaceX serve rural communities in India. Much respect,” tweeted Musk.
Bhargava and wife Anita Kapur Bhargava have shared in a video presentation SpaceX's plan to roll out Starlink broadband service to rural India next year. It is currently in the process of getting regulatory approvals. SpaceX plans to provide 100 Starlink hardware kits — 20 for Delhi schools and 80 in a rural district close to Delhi — for free. Then, its representatives will work with the NITI Aayog to identify 12 rural districts, three from each region — North, South, East & West — and offer Internet services there. By the end of 2022, the company plans to operate at least 200,000 Starlink devices, 160,000 (80 percent) of those in rural areas. Anita Bhargava said she is helping out Starlink pro-bono.
Musk, previously, said that SpaceX is “figuring out” the regulatory approval process in India.
Starlink is in the beta testing phase in the regions it is currently available. It claims to offer a latency between 20–40 milliseconds and speeds vary from 50Mbps to 150Mbps. India could prove to be a huge broadband market for SpaceX because a vast majority of rural India does not have Internet access.
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