French court annuls license granted to Musk’s Starlink

PARIS, April 5 (Reuters) — France’s highest administrative court on Tuesday revoked a decision to grant two frequency bands to Elon Musk’s satellite internet company Starlink, saying the country’s telecoms regulator had made legal misjudgements.

France’s Arcep regulator in February 2021 granted Starlink the right to operate on two radio frequencies on the French territory to provide people with internet access.

The Conseil d’Etat court on Tuesday said it had revoked the licences after two activist groups appealed Arcep’s decision.

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Starlink could not immediately be reached for comment.

The decision to grant the licences to Starlink «could impact the market of access to high-bandwith internet and affect the interests of end users,» the Conseil d’Etat said.

Therefore, it would have been required by the law to carry out public hearings before granting the licences, a step which the regulator omitted.

While expensive to deploy, satellite technology can provide internet for people who live in rural or hard-to-serve places where fiber optic cables and cell towers do not reach.

The technology can also be a critical backstop when hurricanes or other natural disasters disrupt communication.

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Reporting by Tassilo Hummel; Editing by Alexander Smith and Mike Harrison

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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