The satellite Internet access service will retain its authorization to use frequencies in our country. To the great relief of its first users who mobilized forcefully to defend a service that has become essential to them.
“Starlink has revolutionized my daily life”,
“Starlink is vital for the sustainability of my company“,
“Starlink is the only solution to have Internet at home”,
“Starlink is of public utility”.
They are only a few thousand, but the French users of the Starlink satellite internet service mobilized in force to support the request for frequency authorization from the American company. They made a point of expressing their support for the constellation of the American company SpaceX within the framework of a public consultation organized by the policeman of telecoms. It took place between the months of April and May to find out whether 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 for ten years in our country. A first green light had indeed been issued in February 2021 but it had been canceled by the Council of State in April 2022.
This time, the matter is settled. And the many messages from subscribers must have counted in this decision. Because they are in favor of Starlink in their vast majority. They are signed by both general public users and companies, sometimes written in English by European neighbors who have come to settle in our countryside. They show that despite the roll-out of optical fiber by forced march, Very High Speed is not yet 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 telework, 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 has completely devastated these subscribers who feared finding themselves isolated again. They write their distress from the Landes, Brittany, the Vosges, the Maritime Alps or Haute-Savoie. And their messages are poignant:
“Thanks to Starlink we can reach a doctor without going a kilometer to make a call”,
“I am a general practitioner in a deficit 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 care, from Starlink, I have the possibility of doing teleconsultations from my home“,
“We are a hamlet of 11 houses without internet access or telephone. Without Starlink we would be disaster victims, impossible to reach neither firefighters nor emergency services nor police or gendarmerie nor doctor“,
“Starlink is today for me and my companion, the only solution allowing to ensure our professional future”,
“Starlink allows me to work and have internet access at home since 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 telecommute and use telephone services, television, video games that work via the Internet”,
“I live in a mountainous area barely eligible for 5 Mega in xDSL. The fiber is not expected for two years and the 4G is of a deplorable quality especially during rain or snow “,
“Starlink is essential to the survival of my company which cannot receive a correct flow by traditional means“,
“Since I have Starlink and, during the Covid, my activity has been able to continue and develop, from my home, in this mountain village“.
A few rare contributions nevertheless express a refusal to maintain the service.
“If the development of Starlink leads to the creation of a monopoly, the fact that it is held by a private capitalist company is very worrying”worries a citizen, “The deployment of thousands of satellites by Starlink marks the privatization of space”is alarmed another.
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 a satellite service. It is cheaper but with higher latency and lower throughput. As a reminder, there are now around 50,000 satellite users in France, according to Arcep. By 2025, when the coverage of the territory in optical fiber will be 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) could represent an interesting palliative technological solution. There is also talk of THD Radio being maintained with other frequencies than those currently allocated to it.
Testimonials collected by Arcep
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