Elon Musk’s Starlink satellite internet service effectively lost its frequencies in France following a legal battle waged by environmental groups. The decision was published on Tuesday by the Conseil d’Etat, France’s Supreme Court for administrative justice.
According to the court, the recent Starlink ruling negated a decision by Arcep, France’s telecoms regulator, back in February 2021. Arcep had granted Starlink two bands of frequencies that would link the company’s satellite constellation to France-based customers.
Since the decision to grant licenses to Starlink can “impact the market of access to high-bandwith internet and affect the interests of end users” as per the Conseil d’Etat, the satellite internet system should have carried out public hearings before its license was granted. This was something that Arcep did not do.
Stephen Kerckhove, who heads Act for the Environment, one of the environmental groups that took legal action against Starlink, stated that the ruling is a way for the State Council to “send a signal to those who confuse speed with haste.” Kerckhove also noted that he is hoping Arcep would not just go through a public consultation now for sheer compliance but “truly carry out an economic and environmental evaluation” of the satellite internet service.
The Act for the Environment head also noted that Elon Musk’s Starlink satellites are a nuisance for people who would like to observe the skies. This is a common sentiment that has been brought against Starlink, though SpaceX has taken steps to ensure that its constellation does not interfere with skywatchers.
While Starlink has its critics, the service does have a lot of potential. Starlink offers high-speed, low-latency internet service to customers in areas that are typically not served by traditional internet service providers.
The satellite internet system has also been proving itself as an invaluable solution in areas like Ukraine, which is currently at war with Russia. Ukrainian officials have openly thanked SpaceX CEO Elon Musk for Starlink, with some stating that the satellite internet service has helped the country stay connected to the world, hence saving numerous lives.
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