Venture in places that other businesses avoid — seems to be the mantra for the richest man in the world today. SpaceX founder Elon Musk activated the company’s Starlink service in war-ravaged Ukraine, helping residents access the internet in remote villages, a journalist showed. Kristina Berdynskykh posted a picture of residents of a village on the outskirts of Kyiv and captioned it with a message that said the people were using their mobile phones to connect to friends and distant kin for the first time since internet services were snapped by the Russian invasion. “Here is the power of Elon Musk! Residents of Ivankiv, which also lacks electricity, mobile communications, and the Internet, are connecting with their relatives for the first time thanks to Starlink and volunteers who brought it to the city”, the journalist posted.
When no net-related business cared about rural and remote areas, SpaceX deployed its Starlink ‘constellation’ in the low-earth orbit to provide high-speed internet around the world, focused on villages. The uplinking happened on 26 February in Ukraine, days after a government minister urged Elon Musk to help his country out with internet access.
“We were close to getting the approvals to offer service but the documents weren’t all signed,” SpaceX head Gwynne Shotwell said in the course of a panel discussion last month in Washington, DC. Since the beginning of the conflict, “They tweeted at my boss and that was permission to provide the capability.”
Previously, the US Agency for International Development said it delivered 5,000 Starlink terminals to Ukraine in an attempt to bolster internet access for residents. “The terminals will allow public officials and critical citizen service providers to continue to communicate within Ukraine and with the outside world,” even if Russia severs other communications infrastructure in the country, the agency said in a statement on 5 April.