Elon Musk has activated free satellite-based Internet service throughout Ukraine via his aerospace company SpaceX’s Starlink network.
The move comes as Russia invades the nation and threatens to disrupt access to the Internet.
Starlink is a network of small satellites that SpaceX is using to supply broadband internet access around the globe.
Musk was responding to an ask from the Vice Prime Minister of Ukraine and Minister of Digital Transformation, Mykhailo Fedorov, for Starlink equipment.
Fedorov asked Musk for help on Twitter saying: “@elonmusk, while you try to colonize Mars — Russia try to occupy Ukraine!
“While your rockets successfully land from space — Russian rockets attack Ukrainian civil people!
“We ask you to provide Ukraine with Starlink stations and to address sane Russians to stand.”
Musk responded: “Starlink service is now active in Ukraine.
“More terminals en route.”
Starlink service is now active in Ukraine. More terminals en route.
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) February 26, 2022
Today Fedorov shared a photo of some of the Starlink equipment with the caption:
“Starlink — here. Thanks, @elonmusk.”
Musk responded, “You are most welcome.”
You are most welcome
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) February 28, 2022
Invading Russian troops have disrupted Ukraine’s internet infrastructure, making service unreliable and spotty in parts of the country.
The Starlink service, which its website bills as being “ideal for rural and remote communities” and other locales where internet connections have historically been unavailable, is expected to be more reliable than land-based systems that are currently out of service.
One Starlink terminal costs $499. The system was recently used to restore communications in remote villages in Tonga after a volcanic eruption triggered a tsunami, cutting off internet service.
@elonmusk, while you try to colonize Mars — Russia try to occupy Ukraine! While your rockets successfully land from space — Russian rockets attack Ukrainian civil people! We ask you to provide Ukraine with Starlink stations and to address sane Russians to stand.
— Mykhailo Fedorov (@FedorovMykhailo) February 26, 2022