At the end of October, 1,300 Starlink satellite Internet terminals were disconnected in Ukraine. The services of Elon Musk’s company are the most important means of communication for the front, allowing you to maintain a connection to the network without the help of local infrastructure, turning off Starlink is a serious problem for the Armed Forces. CNN claims the terminals were shut down due to funding issues. We are talking about a batch of devices purchased in March from a British company.
Despite Elon Musk’s announcement that his company will continue to finance the Internet for the Ukrainian military, SpaceX and the Pentagon are still negotiating payment for services. Ensuring the operation of the specified batch of terminals costs $2,500 per set, or $3.25 million per month. As of September, $20 million had to be paid – SpaceX was unable to continue funding this batch. The government of Ukraine asked the UK to pay this bill.
The vague statement by an unnamed British CNN official does not directly answer the question of whether these costs will be funded. According to him, Ukraine’s military needs are being funded in order of importance:
“We maintain a number of terminals that are of direct tactical importance for the Ukrainian military in repelling a Russian invasion. We review and prioritize all new requests in terms of the impact that donations can have on supporting Ukraine in protecting its people from Putin’s unfortunate invasion.”
Space X and the Pentagon did not comment on the situation. According to Aleksey Arestovich’s live broadcast last week, the problem has been largely resolved and does not pose any danger to the conduct of hostilities. “Where it is necessary, they work,” he said, clarifying the information from an unnamed interlocutor.
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According to SpaceX, about 20,000 Starlink terminals operate in Ukraine, while 11,000 of them pay for the service. According to approximate and unconfirmed data, about 4,000 terminals are involved directly at the front. While the issue of financing Starlink in Ukraine has not been finally resolved with the Pentagon, Elon Musk’s company has the ability to significantly influence the front-line situation by monitoring the performance of communications.
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