Starlink, the satellite internet provided by Space X, is expected to be up and running globally by September. The company will then await the green light from regulators.
The Starlink project, which aims to spread the satellite internet by launching thousands of satellites into low orbit, is about to become a reality. SpaceX has already announced that global coverage is possible by September, according to Reuters. The company founded by Elon Musk has already launched nearly 1,800 satellites out of a planned 12,000.
If the company is now offering a beta service in 11 countries, it will still need to get the approval of several regulators to be able to expand its offering. France is among these countries, since the approval provided by the Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (Arcep), last February.
“We have regulatory work to do in every country, in order to get approval to offer communications services,” Gwen Shotwell, SpaceX’s chief operating officer, said at a press conference.
Even before its real launch, Starlink appears to be enjoying real success anyway. In May, Elon Musk announced that 500,000 pre-orders had already been issued, specifying that only urban density could be an obstacle to such widespread internet deployment.
But the Starlink project, estimated at $10 billion, was also met with hostility from many observers. Stefan Israel, head of Arianespace, had privately warned at the end of May during a conference in Geneva about the danger of a “virtual monopoly” of space.
The senior official also noted that Starlink’s “very fast-flowing” satellite deployment inevitably puts the company in a strong position vis-à-vis telecom regulators.
On the political side, LFI MPs requested a Starlink Project Cessation in March. Elected officials highlight collision risks given the number of satellites launched, as well as light pollution problems. SpaceX has also worked on this last question, outfitting its devices with sunscreen to reduce their reflection.
On Earth, tensions sometimes arose between the astronautics giant and public authorities. In France, many municipalities have in fact refused to install relay antennas which would make it possible to capture the satellite network. In Gravelines (North) as in Saint-Senier-de-Beuvron (Manche), the municipalities own Refuse this type of installationQuestioning their health and environmental consequences. Exposure to generated electromagnetic fields raises questions in particular.