Amidst the recent funding controversy, Elon Musk has begrudgingly agreed to keep (partly) funding Starlink services in Ukraine!
Elon Musk To Keep (Partly) Funding Starlink In Ukraine!
Elon Musk was seen as a saviour to Ukrainians, after his company – SpaceX, shipped thousands of its satellite terminals to Ukraine, and activated its Starlink satellite Internet services.
Starlink has been critical in providing the Ukrainian government and military forces with secure communications, and the ability to control drones to monitor or attack Russian forces.
But that burnish was just soiled by the raging controversy over SpaceX’s reluctance to “keep paying” for Starlink in Ukraine, especially when it’s revealed that most of the “free” terminals and services were funded by other parties!
In what appears to be a rage post, Elon Musk begrudgingly agreed to keep (partly) funding Starlink services in Ukraine on Saturday, October 15, 2022:
Of course, that could be nothing more than Musk’s sarcastic response to what he probably perceives as a lack of appreciation for SpaceX’s efforts.
Elon Musk / SpaceX Is Making Money Off Starlink In Ukraine!
As a capitalist and a corporation respectively, Elon Musk and SpaceX are entitled to profit off the Starlink satellite service. But it is also important to note that Ukraine has offered SpaceX a unique opportunity to showcase the advantages of the Starlink system.
The overwhelmingly positive media coverage of Starlink’s importance in the Ukraine War is something money can’t buy. So it is important that Elon Musk and SpaceX do not abuse their unique position, to focus on profit, profit, profit.
Not only do they stand to lose that positive news coverage, it could also open a bag of worms… like when the leaked letter exposed that SpaceX was not as charitable as everyone thought.
According to the leaked SpaceX letter, about 85% of the 20,000 Starlink terminals in Ukraine were paid or partially paid for by countries like the US, the UK and Poland. Those countries also paid for about 30% of the Internet connectivity, which costs $4,500 per month per unit.
That service cost was also brought into question since it was their top-tier pricing, when the majority of users in Ukraine only needed the much cheaper $500 per month connectivity, and consumer connectivity only cost $60 per month. It looked like SpaceX was profiteering off Ukraine’s desperation.
The SpaceX letter naturally rankled the Pentagon, with one senior defence official saying that SpaceX has “the gall to look like heroes” and present them with a bill for tens of millions of dollars, when Starlink service in Ukraine was already being sponsored in large part by outside sources.
Let’s hope that Elon Musk and SpaceX has learned their lesson on trying to profit off the Ukraine War…
Read more : Elon Musk Personally Blocked Starlink In Crimea!
Earlier : SpaceX Will No Longer Pay For Starlink In Ukraine!
According to an exclusive report by CNN, SpaceX’s director of government sales wrote a letter to the Pentagon, warning that it can no longer continue to fund the Starlink service.
SpaceX delivered about 20,000 Starlink satellite terminals to Ukraine so far, with CEO Elon Musk stating on Friday that the “operation has cost SpaceX $80M & will exceed $100M by end of year“.
In the letter that was sent in September, SpaceX asked the Pentagon to fund the Ukraine government’s use of Starlink, which would cost $124 million for the rest of the year, and could cost as much as $380 million for the next 12 months.
Here is a breakdown of Starlink costs in Ukraine, and who paid for what:
- USAID – about $3 million on hardware and services
- Poland : almost 9,000 Starlink terminals
- US : almost 1,700 terminals
SpaceX priced the two Starlink satellite terminal models it sent to Ukraine at $1,500 and $2,500, even though the consumer model is cheaper at just $599.
SpaceX claims to have paid for about 70% of the service provided to those Starlink terminals, but that’s based on their claim to have offered the highest level of service at $4,500 per month, even though the majority only signed on for the cheaper $500 per month service. Starlink consumer service in Ukraine, in comparison, costs just $60 per month!
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