The satellite Internet access service will maintain its authorization to use frequencies in our country. Much to the relief of its first users who mobilized forcefully to defend a service that had become essential to them.
“Starlink revolutionized my daily life”,
“Starlink is vital to the sustainability of my company“,
“Starlink is the only solution to have Internet at home”,
“Starlink is of public utility.”
There are only a few thousand, but French users of the Starlink satellite Internet access service have mobilized in force to support the American company’s request for authorization of frequencies. They made a point of expressing their support for the constellation of the American company SpaceX in the framework of a public consultation organized by the telecommunications police. It took place between the months of April and May to find out if it was necessary to maintain its authorization to use frequencies in France.
The 635 pages of contributions have just been published at the same time as Arcep’s approval ten years ago in our country. In fact, a first green light was issued in February 2021, but it was canceled by the State Council in April 2022.
This time, the matter is resolved. And the many messages from subscribers must have played a part in that decision. Because they are in favor of Starlink for the most part. They are signed by both general public users and companies, sometimes written in English by European neighbors who have come to settle in our field. They show that despite the forced deployment of fiber optics, very high speed is still not a reality for everyone in France, especially in rural areas. These messages also highlight that access to a quality connection has almost become vital under the effect of the generalization of teleworking, the dematerialization of public services or the multiplication of medical deserts.
“Without Starlink, we would be devastated”
The prospect of losing access to this satellite service completely devastated those subscribers who feared to isolate themselves again. They write their anxieties from the Landes, Brittany, the Vosges, the Maritime Alps or Haute Savoie. And their messages are poignant:
“Thanks to Starlink, we can get to a doctor without traveling a mile to make a call,”
“I am a general practitioner in a deficient area with more than 10,000 patients without a doctor, it is a real public health problem. I work 60 hours a week, I am one of the 5% of doctors who have the most patients in France and I try to be at least present at home to safeguard my family life. To maintain continuity of service, from Starlink, I have the possibility of making teleconsultations from my home“,
“We are a village of 11 houses without internet or telephone access. Without Starlink we would be victims of disasters, unable to contact firefighters, emergency services, police, gendarmerie or doctor.”,
“Starlink is today, for me and my partner, the only solution that allows us to secure our professional future”,
“Starlink allows me to work and have internet access at home as no operator wants to install fiber in our part of the village”,
“Living in the countryside, Starlink is today the only service that allows us to access the Internet without cuts and to be able to telework and use telephone services, television, video games that work through the Internet”,
“I live in a mountainous area barely eligible for 5 Mega on xDSL. Fiber is not expected two years from now and 4G is of deplorable quality especially during rain or snow,”
“Starlink is essential for the survival of my company that cannot receive a correct flow through traditional means“,
“Since I have Starlink and, during Covid, my activity has been able to continue and develop, from my home, in this mountain village“.
Some rare contributions, however, express a refusal to maintain the service.
“If the development of Starlink leads to the creation of a monopoly, the fact that it is owned by a private capitalist company is very worrying”worries a citizen, “Starlink’s deployment of thousands of satellites marks the privatization of space”another is alarmed.
These oppositions can be counted on the fingers of one hand.
Starlink is not the only service in this market and it arrived very recently in our country. Nordnet, a subsidiary of Orange also offers satellite service. It’s cheaper, but with higher latency and lower throughput. As a reminder, today there are approximately 50,000 satellite users in France, according to Arcep. By 2025, when fiber optic coverage of the territory is completed, there should still be 670,000 homes on the floor. Satellite will not be the only alternative, 5G via 5G boxes or FWA (Fixed Wireless Access) can represent an interesting palliative technological solution. There is also talk of the maintenance of Radio THD with frequencies other than those currently assigned to it.
Testimonials collected by Arcep