The verdict to provide two frequency bands to Elon Musk’s satellite internet startup Starlink was annulled by France’s highest administrative court on Tuesday, citing legal errors by the country’s telecommunications regulator.
Starlink was approved to operate on two radio frequencies in French territory to deliver internet connectivity by the Arcep regulator in February 2021. After two activist organizations challenged Arcep’s decision, the Conseil d’Etat court announced that the licenses had been withdrawn on Tuesday.
Musk’s Starlink could not be immediately reached to comment on the matter.
There was no due process in awarding the frequencies
The decision to issue the licenses to Starlink may impact the market for high-bandwidth internet access and end-user interests, according to the Conseil d’Etat.
Because of those concerns, the regulator would have been compelled by law to hold public hearings before awarding the licenses, which it did not do.
While costly to deploy, satellite technology can give internet to those who live in remote or difficult-to-reach areas where fiber optic cables and cell towers are inefficient or ineffective. The technology can also be used as a backstop when hurricanes and natural disasters disrupt communication channels.
Previously on the Musk show
Former securities authorities and professors say Tesla Inc’s (TSLA.O) CEO may have missed a major disclosure date and submitted improper paperwork when he purchased 9% of Twitter Inc, a platform that the controversial billionaire frequently uses to communicate with his 80M followers.
Some worry that SEC officials might use any discrepancy to try to penalize Musk even more for other transgressions.
Musk said on Monday that he had purchased a 9.2% stake in Twitter, causing the stock to soar by more than 27%. Based on Twitter’s closing price on Friday, that represented a $2.89 billion stake. This makes him the microblogging site’s top stakeholder. How that plays out, only time will tell.