The Council of State has reversed Arcep’s decision to allocate two frequencies to Starlink. This raises serious questions about Starlink’s future in France.
Since April 5, 2022, the ax has fallen: the satellite service is robbed of its Hertzian frequencies in France, after a successful appeal of environmental associations to the Council of State. It means that star link is banned in France.
A decision that contradicts Arcep
This information comes just after announcing a partnership between Jeff Bezos and the European group ArianespaceAmazon plans to launch up to 3,236 satellites in low-Earth orbit in the long term to cover all parts of the Earth, be it individuals, hospitals in remote areas, rescue teams or businesses and organizations.
In the meantime, Starlink – a competing service deployed by SpaceX – loses its authority to operate two frequency bands that are mandatory for exchanges between Starlink antennas and satellites† This means that the Starlink service is banned in France, the offer was available since 2021 and had attracted hundreds of users in France.
Starlink is one of the alternatives for those who are not eligible for fiber optics in France. It is especially densely populated areas that are preferred, as the stakes are very expensive. As for the theoretical suitability for ADSL in France, it is very different. 59% of copper telephone lines allow ADSL access at speeds greater than 8 Mb/s, 16% are eligible for access between 4 and 8 Mb/s, 13% have access between 2 and 4 Mb/s and slot has 12% less than 2 Mb/s. With the rise from SVoD and the increasingly intensive use of internet in homes for leisure and work, ADSL is often insufficient.
This decision is historic because it contradicts a decision by Arcep, the frequency converter. These known radio frequencies relate to the 10.95-12.70 GHz bands (space-to-earth direction) and 14-14.5 GHz (earth-to-space direction).
It’s not final
Theoretically, the Starlink service in France should be discontinued. Starlink has not commented on this decision. Theoretically, Starlink should stop providing its services to current users who certainly have the opportunity to return the equipment they have purchased.
Note that the decision of the Council of State is not final, the operator will have to request permission again to use the frequencies of Arcep and the latter will have to launch a public consultation, a weakness that was retained by the Council of State in its decision. In the meantime it is very likely that the sale of the service will be discontinued, at the time of writing these rules it is still possible to sign up for Starlink. The material costs are 634 euros, with 71 euros shipping costs, the subscription then costs 99 euros per month.
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