Starlink, a subsidiary of SpaceX led by Elon Musk, is facing difficulties obtaining the necessary permissions to operate in France. This administrative irregularity could have severe consequences for the company.
The French agency responsible for information systems security, ANSSI, recently confirmed this issue. It stated that if the situation is not resolved quickly, Starlink may lose its right to operate in France in a few weeks. The lack of authorization is not a mere formality, as the French authorities have had no contact with Starlink’s executives, who do not seem eager to provide updates.
The Electronic Communications and Defense Commission (CCED) has now taken charge of the case to address the situation. If the CCED can prove that Starlink has deliberately avoided requests from French authorities in terms of transparency and compliance with certain standards, the French regulatory agency for electronic communications, ARCEP, could take action. This could result in the largest fine in Starlink’s history in France, potentially amounting to 3% of the company’s revenue ($1.4 billion).
In addition to the financial penalty, there is a risk that Starlink’s two reception sites in France may be dismantled. Starlink has gained popularity in thousands of households since its arrival in France two years ago. Its satellite-based internet solution is particularly useful for people constantly on the move, such as van lifers and travelers, as well as individuals living in remote areas with limited access to fast and reliable internet connections, known as “white zones.”
While the disappearance of the Starlink network in France is unlikely, the company is expected to promptly address the concerns of the French authorities to maintain its services in the coming months.