French regulator Arcep launched a public consultation on its recently annulled decision to award frequencies to Starlink, opening the possibility the licence could be restored to SpaceX’s low Earth orbit (LEO) satellite broadband service.

Arcep had authorised Starlink to use two frequency bands to provide satellite-based broadband services in France in 2021. However, the Conseil d’Etat quashed the regulator’s decision after it was challenged in court by two environmental groups.

The court noted Arcep failed to carry out a public hearing before granting the licences, a factor the regulator stated it is now complying with by launching a consultation, with a deadline for submissions of 9 May.

Arcep also sought to explain why it previously concluded a public hearing had not been required.

It cited its belief the licence award would “neither have a significant impact on the market nor affect end users’ interests”.

Arcep also noted other satellite broadband plans were already available in France when it awarded the licence to Starlink in February 2021.