France opens up to Starlink
June 8, 2022
By Chris Forrester
The Starlink broadband network has regained permission to operate in France following a public consultation in the country, with telecoms regulator Arcep granting a 10-year licence to operate.
There have been a number of highly-vociferous objectors to the Elon Musk-owned service being allowed to operate in France. Arcep had previously approved in February 2021 Starlink’s operation over the country but was stymied by a Conseil d’Etat administrative tribunal on the technicality that Arcep had not followed a precise routine which included an obligatory public consultation. In April it cancelled its previous permission to operate pending the formal restarting of the complete process.
That has now completed but not before a slew of objections were made to the regulator from rivals to Starlink and the general public.
Eutelsat, Orange, France’s national space agency (CNES), Viasat and Inmarsat all complained to the regulator, as did some people living close to Starlink’s teleports.
When the service was suspended in April Starlink said it had some 4,000 French subscribers, some 82 per cent of which were operating in rural areas.
Globally, according to Musk, Starlink now has almost 500,000 subscribers spread over 32 countries.
Back at its Florida launch site, June 8th will see SpaceX launch Nilesat 301, the Egyptian operator’s latest satellite. SpaceX is targeting the launch for 5.04pm Florida time (21.04 UTC). The Falcon 9 first stage booster supporting this mission previously supported the launch of GPS III Space Vehicle 04, GPS III Space Vehicle 05, Inspiration4, Ax-1, and two Starlink missions. After stage separation, the first stage will land on the ‘Just Read the Instructions’ droneship, which will be stationed in the Atlantic Ocean.