PTA With Other Stakeholders To Analyse Technical Plan Of Starlink

According to official documents from Ministry of Information Technology & Telecommunications, Starlink’s technical plan is being reviewed by relevant stakeholders.

 PTA With Other Stakeholders To Analyse Technical Plan Of Starlink

Starlink Internet Services has yet to satisfy the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) and other stakeholders about its technical plan, which is being evaluated for the launch of services in the country, according to official sources.

According to official documents from the Ministry of Information Technology and Telecommunications and the PTA, Starlink’s technical plan is being reviewed by relevant stakeholders. The Government of Pakistan is consulting with all stakeholders, including SUPARCO, LEAs, PTAs, and FAB, to analyse the Starlink technical and business plan, as regional and international countries are cautious about allowing or denying Starlink due to respective satellite regimes and security concerns.

The documents also revealed that the Law Enforcement Agency is investigating Starlink’s security clearance and related technical vulnerabilities, particularly its data hosting outside the country and use of laser technology from satellite to satellite without using Earth Gateways. The PTA will take further action, such as granting a licence or otherwise, after receiving approval from all stakeholders.

Long Distance and International (LD1) and Local Loop (LL) PTA licencees are permitted to provide satellite-based telecommunication services in their respective licenced regions under existing regulatory provisions (s).

Starlink Internet Services Pakistan (Pvt) Ltd. (Starlink), which is owned by Starlink Holdings Netherlands BV, applied for an LDI license for Pakistan on February 24th, 2022, as well as 14 LL licenses for all Telecom Regions in Pakistan on  April 29th, 2022.

All stakeholders have been notified, and the Starlink case is being examined from a technical standpoint on a non-exclusive, non-interference, and non-protection basis.

Starlink Internet Services Pakistan (Pvt) Ltd. (Starlink) requested permission from the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) to operate in Pakistan. Traditional satellites are in geostationary orbit (GSO) in Pakistan (36000 km altitude).

Starlink, on the other hand, differs from GSO in that it operates in low Earth orbit (LEO) at an altitude of 250 to 500 km, providing low-latency connectivity.

Starlink and SpaceX satellites can also communicate with multiple ground stations at the same time, and a single ground station can connect to multiple Starlink satellites. Satellite-to-satellite connectivity also exists through laser technology to effectively expand footprint in all areas.

Internet bandwidth is typically accessed from a ground station within the country, where services are extended via Starlink. As a result, optical fibre cable bandwidth is uplinked and downlinked via space stations, and internet services are provided to end users within the country.

PTA officials briefed the Senate Standing Committee on Information Technology and Telecommunications, which met under the chairmanship of Senator Kauda Babar On Monday.

According to officials, this technology is still in its early stages, and further progress cannot be made due to security concerns. Senator Afnanullah Khan stated that it was an excellent technology for providing internet services in remote areas and that it was not appropriate to avoid it solely due to security concerns.
The chairman of the committee, Senator Kauda Babar, formed a subcommittee to settle the matter and bring it to a logical end. The subcommittee will sit down with all the stakeholders and resolve the issues.

According to the officials, SpaceX‘s Starlink is currently using a beta version that is not fully secure. The committee was informed that the technology was reportedly used in a drone attack in Ukraine, as well as in Afghanistan. The committee constituted a subcommittee to look into the matter and report back to it.