Elon Musk has officially withdrawn SpaceX’s demand for more Starlink funding in Ukraine!
Elon Musk Withdraws Demand For Starlink Funding!
Elon Musk was seen as a saviour to Ukrainians, after his company – SpaceX, shipped thousands of its satellite terminals to Ukraine, and activated its Starlink satellite Internet services.
But he came under fire after a SpaceX letter demanding more funding leaked, exposing how most of Starlink service in Ukraine was being funded by third party entities, including the US, UK and Polish governments.
The backlash resulted in an angry “The hell with it” retort by Musk, which could either mean he was going to continue subsidising a small part of Starlink services in Ukraine, or he was just being sarcastic.
That was finally clarified when he tweeted that SpaceX officially withdrew its request for (additional) funding.
He could barely hide his indignation at being “exposed” for only subsidising a small percentage of Starlink services in Ukraine, with his follow-up tweet to “clarify” that SpaceX was only getting paid for 42% of Starlink users in Ukraine.
While that sounds “bad”, the truth is – SpaceX was charging an ultra-premium $2,500 for its Starlink service in Ukraine, when most users only needed the much cheaper $500 connectivity, or the $60 consumer connectivity.
That’s like charging them for Gigabit broadband, when they only need 50 Mbps or 100 Mbps connectivity. The cost is the same, but the company gets to claim that they are being fleeced, when the truth is – they are looking to profiteer off a country desperately trying to fight off a Russian invasion.
Come on, Elon…
Elon Musk / SpaceX Is Making Money Off Starlink In Ukraine!
As a capitalist and a corporation respectively, Elon Musk and SpaceX are entitled to profit off the Starlink satellite service. But it is also important to note that Ukraine has offered SpaceX a unique opportunity to showcase the advantages of the Starlink system.
The overwhelmingly positive media coverage of Starlink’s importance in the Ukraine War is something money can’t buy. So it is important that Elon Musk and SpaceX do not abuse their unique position, to focus on profit, profit, profit.
Not only do they stand to lose that positive news coverage, it could also open a bag of worms… like when the leaked letter exposed that SpaceX was not as charitable as everyone thought.
According to the leaked SpaceX letter, about 85% of the 20,000 Starlink terminals in Ukraine were paid or partially paid for by countries like the US, the UK and Poland. Those countries also paid for about 30% of the Internet connectivity, which costs $4,500 per month per unit.
That service cost was also brought into question since it was their top-tier pricing, when the majority of users in Ukraine only needed the much cheaper $500 per month connectivity, and consumer connectivity only cost $60 per month. It looked like SpaceX was profiteering off Ukraine’s desperation.
The SpaceX letter naturally rankled the Pentagon, with one senior defence official saying that SpaceX has “the gall to look like heroes” and present them with a bill for tens of millions of dollars, when Starlink service in Ukraine was already being sponsored in large part by outside sources.
Let’s hope that Elon Musk and SpaceX has learned their lesson on trying to profit off the Ukraine War…
Read more : Elon Musk Personally Blocked Starlink In Crimea!
Earlier : SpaceX Will No Longer Pay For Starlink In Ukraine!
According to an exclusive report by CNN, SpaceX’s director of government sales wrote a letter to the Pentagon, warning that it can no longer continue to fund the Starlink service.
SpaceX delivered about 20,000 Starlink satellite terminals to Ukraine so far, with CEO Elon Musk stating on Friday that the “operation has cost SpaceX $80M & will exceed $100M by end of year“.
In the letter that was sent in September, SpaceX asked the Pentagon to fund the Ukraine government’s use of Starlink, which would cost $124 million for the rest of the year, and could cost as much as $380 million for the next 12 months.
Here is a breakdown of Starlink costs in Ukraine, and who paid for what:
- USAID – about $3 million on hardware and services
- Poland : almost 9,000 Starlink terminals
- US : almost 1,700 terminals
SpaceX priced the two Starlink satellite terminal models it sent to Ukraine at $1,500 and $2,500, even though the consumer model is cheaper at just $599.
SpaceX claims to have paid for about 70% of the service provided to those Starlink terminals, but that’s based on their claim to have offered the highest level of service at $4,500 per month, even though the majority only signed on for the cheaper $500 per month service. Starlink consumer service in Ukraine, in comparison, costs just $60 per month!
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