The French communications regulator, ARCEP (l’Autorité de régulation des communications électroniques), has approved SpaceX’s Starlink broadband-by-satellite system for use and access to the nation.
However, the residents of a small village near Mont Saint-Michel abbey on the English Channel are saying a very firm “no.”
The village, Saint-Senier-de-Beuvron, population 350, is fearful of the impact the 3 meter satellite ground station antennas and radomes might have. “This project is totally new. We don’t have any idea of the impact of these signals,” said Noemie Brault, the deputy mayor of the village. “As a precaution the municipal council said no.”
SpaceX has permission to erect nine domes at Saint-Senier and at three other sites throughout France. Starlink Internet Services can use frequencies 10.95-12.70 Ghz for space-to-Earth and 14-14.5 GHz for Earth-to-space transmissions and was confirmed by ARCEP on February 18th. France’s various regulators have stressed that the domes and transmissions present no risk to residents, and that there are similar Earth stations across France doing similar work.
The company handling the Starlink installation say they will be making a fresh submission for local permission.
In additional news, SES has confirmed the signing of multi-year capacity agreements totaling more than 66 million euros in backlog with multiple public broadcasters in Europe throughout 2020, which it says will “enable millions of satellite TV households across Europe to continue watching SD and HD content delivered with world-class reliability.”
The public broadcasters who have signed contracts directly with SES include ARD and ZDF in Germany, BBC in the UK, BVN in the Netherlands, as well as TV5Monde and France 24 from France via its partner Globecast.
“With almost the entire global population being impacted by some form of Covid-19 containment measures throughout 2020, public broadcasters have seen a surge in viewers across all age groups relying on linear television programmes to get the latest, official and well-researched news about the pandemic. The increase in linear content in 2020 also reinforces satellite as the most reliable way to broadcast to the widest possible audience and in the best quality desired by the viewer,” stated SES.
The latest agreements signed between public broadcasters and SES illustrate how European broadcasters are leveraging SES’s satellites at the prime orbital slots of 19.2 degrees East and 28.2 degrees East to reach more than 89 million satellite TV homes, surpassing other satellite or terrestrial operators.
“Delivering TV programs with reliable information and quality entertainment is important, especially in times of crisis. We are very pleased to help ARD, ZDF, BBC, TV5Monde, France 24 and BVN — some of the biggest names in European broadcasting — reach as many people as possible with their public service offering,” said Steve Collar, CEO at SES. “Satellite is an invaluable distribution resource today and it will remain so in the future, providing broadcasters with the largest reach, unmatched reliability, bandwidth efficiency and the ability to deliver superior content quality to millions of TV households in Europe.”
Separately, SES has also announced that its Government Solutions division has been awarded a capacity ‘loopback’ access contract with “a key US government customer” covering Southwest Asia. “The awarded task order is against the single-award Blanket Purchase Agreement (BPA) with the US Department of Defense (DoD) for Medium Earth Orbit (MEO) low-latency High Throughput Satellite (HTS) services.”
Onto China, where Chinese vehicle manufacturing giant Geely Technology Group (and its satellite production division Taizhou Xingkong Zhilian) have been given formal approval to build more than 500 satellites annually.
The new enterprise, located in coastal Taizhou, eastern Zhejiang province, will carry out research and development, manufacture core components, test, operate and control satellites, said the company. Equipment is reportedly arriving and production scheduled to start in October.
The news is important in that this is the first ‘mass manufacturing’ facility for satellites in China and will bring together Geely’s industrialized output with the high-tech aerospace demands of satellite production. It is not yet know what the target uses are for the new satellites, or whether they are likely to be LEO craft or larger.