Starlink loses French spectrum license

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COLORADO SPRINGS —SpaceX has lost the right to provide Starlink broadband services in France after the country’s highest administrative court revoked its spectrum license. 

France’s Conseil d’État ruled April 5 that French telecoms regulator ARCEP should have launched a public consultation before authorizing Starlink in February 2021.

“In law, they should normally cease [providing services] immediately, pending ARCEP’s public consultation” following the court’s decision, a Conseil d’État spokesperson told SpaceNews.

ARCEP and SpaceX did not respond to a request for comment. 

ARCEP’s “contested decision” to authorize Starlink “is likely to have a significant impact on the market for the supply of high-speed internet access and affect the interests of end users,” Conseil d’État said, and therefore should have first consulted the public.

The ruling came after Priartem and Agir Pour L’Environnement, two French environmental activist organizations, submitted an appeal to challenge ARCEP’s decision to award Starlink frequency rights.

Stéphen Kerckhove, managing director of Agir pour l’Environnement (Acting for the Environment), called for stronger regulations on megaconstellations to protect views of the night sky and reduce space debris risks in an April 6 statement.