The eco decryption. Elon Musk launches broadband internet in France

A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket is preparing to launch 57 Starlink satellites on July 10, 2020.
A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket is about to launch 57 Starlink satellites on July 10, 2020 (JOE MARINO / MAXPPP)

Are the areas poorly – or not at all – covered by 4G and broadband in France soon? Will the famous white areas soon be just bad memories? After Great Britain, France, via Arcep, the telecoms regulatory authority, grants Starlink the frequencies of small terminals, small dishes that are part of the subscriber’s kit, which should be available at the end of the year.

Elon Musk’s rockets, launched by his Space X group, have so far put some 800 satellites into orbit. Musk is in the process of covering the entire planet to provide its internet, 4G and 5G services in areas where traditional operators do not deploy their own technologies, because technically and especially financially too complicated. To connect to the terrestrial network, Starlink needs ground relay stations, with domes and large antennas. Three have been authorized in France: in Villenave d´Ornon (Gironde), Gravelines (Nord) and Saint-Senier-de-Beuvron (Manche), but the mayor of this village of 350 inhabitants is opposed to it as a precautionary principle.

The American throws a stone in a very competitive small market. Orange is currently the only one of the four major French telephone operators to offer such an offer with its satellite subsidiary Nordnet. The American Starlink could quickly prove useful in rural or mountainous areas that do not have access to fiber or broadband. Covering as much territory as possible was Emmanuel Macron’s commitment during the election campaign. The subject resurfaces a year before the next presidential election.

Starlink has yet to release pricing, but interested customers can queue up by registering at the American’s site and paying for the $ 99 admission ticket, around $ 80. And then the competition will one day come and cut the prices. In particular, we expect Amazon, whose boss, Jeff Bezzos, also has a satellite internet project.

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