French court annuls Starlink licence

France’s highest administrative court revoked a decision by Arcep to grant frequencies to SpaceX’s low Earth orbit (LEO) satellite broadband service Starlink, stating the French telecoms regulator had not carried out the correct proceedings.

Arcep in February 2021 authorised Starlink to use two frequency bands to provide satellite-based broadband services in France. However, the Conseil d’Etat quashed the regulator’s decision after it was challenged in court by two environmental groups.

In its ruling published yesterday (6 April), the court noted Arcep failed to carry out a public hearing before granting the frequency licences.

Such a hearing would have been a legal requirement because the decision to grant the licences to Starlink “could impact the market of access to high-bandwidth internet and affect the interests of end users”, the court stated.

Reuters reported Starlink is yet to comment on the ruling.

Starlink had been authorised to use the frequencies 10.95GHz to 12.70GHz for space-to-Earth and 14GHz to 14.5GHz for Earth-to-space transmissions.