It appears that Ukraine’s free use of Elon Musk’s Starlink Internet service will continue. An apparent reversal of Musk’s earlier claims.

Elon Musk tweeted On Saturday that Starlink, a division of its space company SpaceX, “will continue to fund the Ukrainian government for free.” There is no doubt that he is talking about a preference that his company declared him in September not to lose more money on what had recently been Musk’s accomplishment in PR: providing satellite internet to Ukraine during the invasion of Russia.

In March, SpaceX delivered thousands of hardware kits to Ukraine. When Musk announced the move the previous month, there were questions as to whether it was just a publicity stunt and whether Starlink would prove useful.

But then it turned out that it was absolutely useful. Essential too.

According to an October Tweet from the Ukrainian Deputy Prime Minister, Mykhailo Fedorov, the plates took over after more than 1,000 cruise missiles targeted Ukraine’s energy and transport infrastructure. With Starlink equipment, Ukraine “quickly restored the connection in critical areas,” according to Fedorov, who added, “Starlink continues to be an essential part of the critical infrastructure.”


Providing Starlink to Ukraine was Elon Musk’s biggest PR win. He now he doesn’t even want to do it.

But in September, as Mashable’s Matt Binder wrote yesterday, Starlink sent a letter to the Pentagon, saying, “We are unable to further donate terminals to Ukraine or fund existing terminals indefinitely.” The letter was also something of an invoice, which required $ 124 million from the Department of Defense to recover about $ 100 million in losses and keep Starlink operating in Ukraine until the end of 2022.

Some US government funds had already been used in this way, according to reports that emerged in April. SpaceX’s September letter further detailed this cost-sharing scheme, in which, according to SpaceX, governments such as the United States and Poland pay for most of the hardware, while SpaceX itself manages about 70% of the cost of the hardware. Internet connectivity.

In other words, although pro-Ukraine governments are already taking on some of the burden, it is clear that SpaceX is providing a service to Ukraine and losing money in the process. If you appreciate the wartime generosity towards Ukraine, you could call this a “good deed”. Suddenly writing to the Pentagon asking for the bagpiper to pay would be tantamount, at best, to the cessation of a good deed.

So on Saturday, Musk, who has the highest individual net worth in the world on most days, signaled that his good deed will continue. Although not without a healthy dose of self-pity.

However, it is increasingly worth mentioning that Musk’s statements about his own intentions, particularly on Twitter, are often jokes or are real promises that simply amount to nothing, and the line between those two categories is blurry.

In 2018, he came up with a vague plan to rescue a men’s soccer team that was stuck in a cave, but the submarine he provided proved useless. In the same year, she said she would be landing cargo on Mars in 2022. There is no sign that this will happen in the next 77 days. And that’s not to mention the whiplash audiences are getting when Musk announces, revokes and re-announces his plan to buy Twitter. Oh, and he also challenged Vladimir Putin to “single combat”.

So, if you are someone who depends on Elon Musk’s generosity to maintain internet connectivity, Musk’s tweet is good news. But given the source, it would be wise not to get too comfortable.

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