Ukraine nabs 10,000 new Starlink terminals as the satellite Internet service hits 1 million subscribers
According to Ukraine's Mykhailo Fedorov, all Starlink satellite Internet financing issues in the country have been resolved by SpaceX, and Elon Musk's company will be providing 10,000 more kits to add to the 22,000 terminals it already shipped to Ukraine. This would probably round up the US$100 million that Elon Musk mentioned will be spent on Ukraine's satellite Internet service by year's end, when he pleaded the Pentagon for help in picking up the 2023 tab which he said could amount to extra US$380 million.
SpaceX and Musk quickly react to problems and help us. Musk assured us he will continue to support Ukraine. When we had a powerful blackout, I messaged him on that day and he momentarily reacted and has already delivered some steps. He understands the situation.
Later on, Elon Musk tweeted "the hell with it, even though Starlink is still losing money & other companies are getting billions of taxpayer $, we’ll just keep funding Ukraine govt for free" and has apparently indeed continued to do so.
Meanwhile, SpaceX boasted reaching its first million of satellite Internet subscribers, which is a pretty astonishing growth, given that on last count about half a year ago it had only surpassed 400,000 subs. That unprecedented growth came with diminishing Starlink download speeds, as more and more people went to use the same connections, and the introduction of a hard data cap for the most prolific users of the heretofore unlimited satellite Internet.
For a short while Elon Musk did complain that providing satellite Internet services to Ukraine exposes SpaceX to cyberattacks or worse, as it is increasingly using Starlink terminals for military as well as civilian purposes. Starlink's operation in Ukraine is not without perils indeed, as a Russian military blogger claimed the other day that a local arms manufacturer has developed a Starlink terminal detection radar that will soon be tested in the field, so satellite connectivity may come under increased threat there during the winter months, at least the one used for military purposes.
The Russian missile attacks on Ukraine's energy grid and civilian infrastructure that began in October, however, аре increasingly affecting mobile and Internet connectivity, too, so Fedorov mentioned that "there is no alternative to satellite connections" as the country is preparing contingency plans for the winter:
We are ready to live without electricity for a month with at least mobile network and text messages being available. Regarding internet, we have a lot of Starlinks, but the key point is we have got a nod for another shipment that will be used to stabilize connection for critical situations.
These new shipments of 10,000 Starlink terminals may have also been made possible by the financial participation of countries in the European Union, hinted Fedorov, just adding that "as of now all financial issues have been resolved," at least until the spring when Ukraine may need additional satellite Internet funding.