In early March, responding to a tweeted plea from Ukraine’s deputy prime minister to Elon Musk, SpaceX delivered a truckload of donated Starlink internet terminals to the besieged European nation in just one day.
That lightning-fast deployment highlights how the Starlink system can rapidly bring high-speed internet to any crisis spot in the world.
Since then, the number of terminals shipped to Ukraine has topped 10,000 units. So far, the Russians haven’t been targeting the small visible dishes — though Musk advised users in Ukraine to “place light camouflage” over the antennas to avoid detection.
Meanwhile, SpaceX is currently sending thousands of Starlink satellites into orbit, creating an internet-service constellation providing a low-cost alternative to remote land-based systems vulnerable to interruption, including by Russian forces in Ukraine.
As PCMag explains:
Starlink works by using orbiting satellites to deliver broadband to users, instead of relying on ground-based fiber networks. For the consumer, all that’s needed is a Starlink dish, which can be pointed to the open sky to receive high-speed internet.
In a The Washington Post video stream on Tuesday Alex Bornyakov, the country’s deputy minister of digital transformation said: “So, right now, it’s more than 10,000 units in Ukraine.”
Bornyakov said the Ukrainian government has been installing the Starlink dishes in the cities of Chernihiv and Mariupol, hit hard by Russian forces.
One Ukrainian official tweeted a photo of a technician installing a dish in a formerly Russian-occupied village in war-ravaged Chernihiv Oblast, after making his way past deadly mined roads.
According to PC Magazine, Bornyakov added:
There was a need for [supplying] military first and hospitals, but then we started to give them out to some enterprises because we need business running. We need companies to work, even in cities where it’s in close proximity from Russian troops.
Bornyakov also noted that Starlink has become a vital communication tool for Ukrainian soldiers.
Despite internet disruptions due to collateral damage from the fighting and Russian cyberattacks, Bornyakov said existing fiber networks are still providing internet in areas in Ukraine away from the big battlegrounds, and overall, the country’s broadband access has remained fairly stable.
Responding to questions about the Russians targeting the dishes, Bornyakov said: “Well, first of all, they’re really small, and it’s really hard to identify them.”
He added: “Second, I’m not sure. I can’t be 100% sure, but I don’t think Russians are able to trace them because they haven’t been aware of this technology, and I think their equipment is not adjusted to trace Starlinks.”
Let’s hope that continues. And don’t forget to camouflage the dishes.
The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the positions of American Liberty News.