Elon Musk’s Starlink project has been put through a public consultation in France by Arcep

This service allows people in underserved areas to access the Internet through thousands of small satellites.

Arcep, the French telecoms regulator, announced Friday the opening of a public consultation on the use of Hertzian frequencies by billionaire Elon Musk-launched satellite internet access service Starlink, following a decision by the Council of State. At the end of a 30-day period, Arcep will publish “as soon as possible” the contributions it will have received from the stakeholders concerned and will make a new decision, according to a press release.

The Council of State, seized by the environmental groups Priartem and Agir pour l’environnement, on Tuesday annulled Arcep’s decision, taken on February 9, 2021, to grant Starlink two frequency bands to connect its satellites to its users. The administrative court criticized Arcep for not having acted.for a public consultation” before you have given the green light, although this decision “likely to have a significant impact on the high-speed Internet access provisioning market and affect users“.

Arcep had a contrary analysis, considering that “The frequency band that was considered permissible allowed several satellite players to live together and thus did not lead to a spectrum shortage phenomenon“, says the press release. “In addition, on the day of approval, there were already other very high-speed satellite Internet access offers whose users accounted for tens of thousands of the more than 17 million very high-speed subscribers in Franceadded the regulator.

More than 100,000 subscribers worldwide

At the moment, the Starlink service is still working in France, as AFP has been able to verify with users. It officially opened in May 2021 and is operated by SpaceX, the space company owned by billionaire Tesla boss Elon Musk, who didn’t respond to inquiries from AFP. The service allows residents of areas poorly served by telecom operators’ fixed and mobile networks to access high-speed Internet via thousands of small satellites orbiting the Earth in low orbit (mainly 550 kilometers). It requires specific equipment that sells around 600 euros and a subscription of almost 100 euros per month.

In January, at Starlink’s request, Arcep had also revoked spectrum usage licenses for two of the three terrestrial stations it planned to use in France, a dispute locally. According to public statements by Starlink officials, the Starlink service currently has more than 100,000 subscribers worldwide.

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