By John Ikani
Elon Musk on Saturday said his company SpaceX’s Starlink satellite broadband service had been activated in Ukraine after a Kyiv official urged the tech titan to provide his embattled country with stations.
“Starlink service is now active in Ukraine. More terminals en route,” Musk tweeted.
The tweet came some 10 hours after Ukrainian Minister of Digital Transformation Mykhailo Fedorov urged Musk to provide Starlink services to Ukraine, days after it was invaded by neighbouring Russia.
Internet connectivity in Ukraine has been affected by the Russian invasion, particularly in the southern and eastern parts of the country where fighting has been heaviest, internet monitors said on Saturday.
Officials think internet access can help defeat Russian propaganda, and expose atrocities being carried out by Putin’s troops
While extremely costly to deploy, satellite technology can provide internet for people who live in rural or hard-to-serve places where fiber optic cables and cell towers do not reach. The technology can also be a critical backstop when hurricanes or other natural disasters disrupt communication.
Starlink operates a constellation of more than 2,000 satellites that aim to provide internet access across the planet.
The company on Friday launched a further 50 Starlink satellites and many more are slated to be put into Earth’s orbit.