SpaceX’s Starlink India country director Sanjay Bhargava has stepped down from his position at the Elon Musk-led satellite internet company.
“I have stepped down as Country Director and Chairman of the Board of Starlink India for personal reasons. My last working day was December 31, 2021. I will have no comments for individuals and media so please respect my privacy,” said Bhargava in a LinkedIn post.
According to media reports, Starlink had also started refunding the $99 (INR 7,400) deposit it had collected from Indian citizens who had pre-booked the company’s satellite broadband internet service.
Bhargava had only joined the company as its country director in September last year when he said he will be focusing on a pilot project in 10 rural Lok Sabha constituencies first before rolling out the service in the rest of the country.
SpaceX made headlines in 2019 when it launched a ‘constellation’ of low earth orbit satellites (LEO) designed to deliver high-speed internet to remote regions of the world.
Since then, the company has been busy launching these satellites in batches of 60 to realise its goal of creating a ‘mega-constellation’ of 30,000 satellites that will bring the internet to all parts of the world.
Unlike regular satellites that orbit around 36,000 kilometres above the earth, LEO satellites orbit between 500 and 2000 km. Meaning that an LEO internet connection is much faster than regular satellite internet. This technology makes it possible for people living in remote regions to access almost broadband speed internet without laying down the expensive network cable infrastructure.
Currently, Starlink services more than 14 countries including the United Kingdom, France, Netherlands, Germany, Portugal and others. In a tweet in August, Elon Musk had mentioned that the license applications are pending in many countries.
Elon Musk’s SpaceX registered a fully owned subsidiary in India called Starlink Satellite Communications in November last year. The company had Starlink country director Sanjay Bhargava and Anand Prasad as signatories.
Starlink had stopped accepting preorders for its satellite-internet service from Indian addresses in December last year. Just days after the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) issued a notice pointing out that Elon Musk’s SpaceX’s Starlink is not authorised to offer satellite-based internet services in the country.