On Monday (Feb. 28), Mykhailo Fedorov, Ukraine’s vice prime minister and the country’s minister of digital transformation, shared a photo on Twitter of a batch of additional terminals that can be used to access SpaceX’s Starlink satellite internet service.
As a war rages in Ukraine following an invasion by Russia that began last week, internet service in Ukraine has been experiencing “significant disruptions,” according to a report from monitoring group Netblocks. Now, after promising as such on Twitter, SpaceX CEO Elon Musk has provided Ukraine with internet connectivity through the company’s Starlink satellites.
“@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,” Fedorov said.
Musk was quick to respond, stating that SpaceX had activated its Starlink internet service in Ukraine and that it was sending additional Starlink tech to the country. “Starlink service is now active in Ukraine. More terminals en route,” Musk wrote on Twitter.
But Musk is making good on his promise in more ways than one. Not only did the technology arrive in Ukraine, but there are already reports showing that it’s up and running.
It was unclear whether Ukrainians had to pay for the terminals or for Starlink service. SpaceX currently charges $500 for a terminal and $100 a month for standard internet service.
“Success! SpaceX Starlink is working in Kyiv, Ukraine!” Twitter user Oleg Kutkov stated online. According to Kutkov’s post, they were connected with download speeds of 136.76 Mbps and upload speeds of 23.93 Mbps and they were able to access Starlink internet with their iPhone.
The company is adding a premium service that costs $500 per month with a $2,500 terminal.
Kyiv, a city of 2.8 million people and the capital of Ukraine, is one of multiple areas in the country where Russian attacks have been reported. For days, Kyiv has been bombarded by missile strikes, according to the New York Times.
Musk replied hours later that Starlink service was now active in Ukraine and said he would send more terminals. On Monday, he appeared to have delivered on that promise.
SpaceX’s Starlink internet service is designed to provide high-speed broadband internet access to remote areas around the globe that may lack such infrastructure.
This is achieved via a megaconstellation of Starlink internet satellites, which SpaceX has been routinely launching to low Earth orbit. There are currently over 2,000 functional Starlink satellites in orbit and SpaceX has clearance to launch up to 12,000 of the spacecraft, though the company aims to launch 30,000 more.