Halt for Starlink. Tuesday, April 5, the satellite internet access service launched by Elon Musk lost its authorization to operate the French frequency bands. The Council of State has indeed ruled in favor of environmental associations, which had filed an appeal against the project of the American billionaire.
In its decision published on Tuesday, the administrative court thus quashed a decision by the electronic communications regulatory authority (Arcep), which granted two frequency bands to Starlink in France, reports Reporterre. In question ? Arcep would not have carried out “public consultation” before authorizing this grant, while this one could have had “effects on the market for the provision of high-speed internet access and affect the interests of end users”.
For the two associations which had lodged an appeal against Starlink, Priartem and Agir pour l’environnement, this judgment is a victory. “The Council of State sends a signal to those who confuse speed with haste“, estimates Stephen Kerckhove, general delegate of Acting for the Environment, quoted by Le Figaro. “It is time for the public authorities to stop pushing through on such subjects and finally accept the necessary public debate”adds Sophie Pelletier, President of Priartem, who recalls the need to carry out environmental assessments.
A strongly criticized project
According to Maître François Lafforgue, the lawyer for the two associations, this decision of the Council of State prohibits Elon Musk’s company from using the frequencies allocated and therefore from offering its service in France. As a reminder, Starlink’s ambition was to provide a high-speed Internet connection worldwide, thanks to a constellation of 42,000 satellites. Although attractive for people living in white areas, this offer has been widely criticized for its impacts in terms of light pollution and the endangerment of terrestrial space, recalls Reporterre.