Starlink regains permission to operate in France

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TAMPA, Fla. — SpaceX’s Starlink broadband network reclaimed permission to operate in France June 2 following a month-long public consultation in the country.

French telecoms regulator ARCEP said it decided to award Starlink a spectrum license again after its consultation highlighted demand for the services in areas poorly served by terrestrial networks.

ARCEP had authorized Starlink in February 2021, however, France’s highest administrative court revoked the license April 5 after ruling that the regulator should have first launched a public consultation. 

That ruling came after two French environmental activist organizations submitted an appeal to challenge Starlink’s frequency rights, citing concerns including the impact of megaconstellations on views of the night sky and space debris.

Starlink broadband is available in 32 countries and currently serving nearly 500,000 users, according to a video presentation SpaceX CEO Elon Musk tweeted June 5.

SpaceX also said it had sent 15,000 Starlink terminals to Ukraine that will help keep the country connected amid Russia’s invasion.

Starlink has more than 2,400 satellites in orbit after SpaceX launched its first batch of the spacecraft in May 2019, according to statistics maintained by spaceflight analyst and astronomer Jonathan McDowell.

The decision to grant Starlink permission to operate in France came a week after the Philippines became the first country in Southeast Asia to approve Starlink. 

SpaceX also recently said Nigeria had joined Mozambique as the first countries in Africa to give its broadband network the nod.