On Tuesday April 5, the satellite internet access service launched by billionaire Elon Musk was deprived of its terrestrial frequencies in France. Seized by environmental associations, the Council of State overturned the decision of the electronic communications regulatory authority (Arcep), which granted two frequency bands to Starlink. The Starlink project aims to provide high-speed Internet connection across the world through a constellation of 42,000 satellites.
The reason ? Arcep would not have carried out “ a public consultation to assess the impact on the market of the provision of high-speed Internet access likely to affect the interests of end users, » according to a press release sent by Agir pour l’environnement and Priartem, the two applicant associations.
For Stéphen Kerckhove, director general of Agir pour l’environnement, this decision is a victory. “ With several constellation projects counting tens of thousands of satellites making any observation of the starry sky impossible while turning space into a future dustbin for space debris, there is an urgent need for international regulations aimed at making the starry sky a world heritage of humanity, preserved from the appetites of Far Web actors », he said in a press release.
“ Governments must stop pushing »
Sophie Pelletier, President of Priartem, continues: “ Like 5G, out of bad habit, the public authorities consider that the environmental and health assessment is at best an obligatory passage, at worst a procedural concession, which we can do without. It is time for the public authorities to stop pushing through on such subjects and finally accept the necessary public debate. »
For Maître François Lafforgue, association lawyer: “ There is nothing inevitable about operators as powerful as Starlink freeing themselves from basic rules of law. The Council of State’s decision is a wise decision because it reminds Arcep that it is never good to make hasty decisions with significant consequences. »
The profusion of satellites indeed generates enormous light pollution in space and would endanger the terrestrial environment. It could also serve as support for commercial space conquest projects.