Elon Musk says Starlink will ‘continue to fund Ukraine’s government for free’

SpaceX CEO Elon Musk retracts his earlier statement about funding Starlink’s satellite internet service in Ukraine, saying his company will “just keep funding the Ukrainian government for free,” a day after saying SpaceX won’t would be able to pay Starlink in the war country indefinitely.

“The hell with that…” Musk said. “Even though Starlink is still losing money and other companies are receiving billions in taxpayers’ money, we will continue to fund the Ukrainian government for free,” the tech billionaire said on Twitter on Saturday.

SpaceX reportedly sent a letter from Musk to the Pentagon last month asking it to fund the Ukrainian government and its military’s use of Starlink broadband, noting the company couldn’t afford it to donate more terminals or pay for its operations in the country indefinitely, a CNN article.

“SpaceX is not requiring to recoup past expenses, but neither can it fund the existing system indefinitely,” Musk said in a tweet Friday, which drew criticism from users. “SpaceX isn’t requiring to recoup past expenses, but neither can it fund the existing system indefinitely *and* broadcast several thousand more terminals that have up to 100 times the data usage of typical households. This is unreasonable,” he said in another tweet.

On the same day, a Pentagon spokesman told reporters that it was evaluating its options. “It’s not just SpaceX, there are other entities that we can certainly work with when it comes to supplying Ukraine with what it needs on the battlefield,” Pentagon Deputy Press Secretary Sabrina Singh said. “I’m not going to show our hand now exactly what that is or who we’re talking to,” she added when asked about the report.

Aside from Starlink, Viasat, another company offering satellite-based communications, said it also provides support in Ukraine, including free community WiFi for Ukrainian refugees in Slovakia. “We are actively working with customers and government partners to leverage our available capacity and terminals to quickly provide additional services [the] country,” said Daniel Bleier.

Starlink is a satellite internet constellation under SpaceX. It currently provides satellite internet access to 40 countries around the world. The company has donated around 25,000 ground terminals to Ukraine since the start of the war.

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Fry Electronics Team

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