SpaceX is struggling to install its new relay stations in France

There will be no relay station for Starlink satellites in Saint-Senier-de-Beuvron, in the English Channel. No more than in Saint-Pierre-et-Miquelon or Gravelines. Faced with protests from residents, SpaceX abandoned its project.

This is the end of the battle for Saint-Senier-de-Beuvron. By dint of disputes (read our investigation), this village in the Channel convinced the company SpaceX not to install a relay station in its home for its megaconstellation Starlink. This is what we understand from the decision adopted on January 4, 2022, and published two weeks later, by ARCEP (Regulatory Authority for Electronic Communications, Posts and Press Distribution).

As a state body, ARCEP authorizes the use of the electromagnetic frequency bands of companies established in France. On December 1, 2020, it had done so for each of the earth stations of Starlink France SARL, including that of Saint-Senier-de-Beuvron. But a year later, this decision is repealed. Elon Musk’s company has indeed retracted.

“We function as a recording chamber for the various projects. When Starlink asks us to cancel a project, we simply remove it from our registers,” explains ARCEP. SpaceX has not spoken publicly about this withdrawal. But at the microphone of France 3, the mayor of Saint-Senier-de-Beuvron explained his blocking strategy: “We pushed back and back the project by asking for more and more information, and we never had Answer. »

Three out of four canceled projects

Two other Starlink relay station licenses have also been revoked by ARCEP. In Saint-Pierre-et-Miquelon on November 15, 2021, then in Gravelines in the Nord department on January 20, 2022. A total of three cancellations which leaves Villenave-d’Ornon (Gironde) the only town in France to have hosted the said branches telecommunications.

Does SpaceX intend to move its stations to other less problematic sites in France, or simply settle for a single station in France? “To my knowledge, we have not yet received any request for new stations in our country,” replied a representative of ARCEP.

Nor are there any new requests from the National Frequency Agency (ANFR), responsible for determining the safety of installations and ensuring the safety of people and ecosystems. For the time being… Because to deliver its service in a territory, the Starlink megaconstellation requires a tight network of relays on the ground. At least five of them are planned in Germany alone.


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