The American channel CNN reveals requests made by Starlink to the American authorities to bear the cost of aid to Ukraine.
At the Pentagon, SpaceX’s requests go badly. For several months, Elon Musk’s space company, which provides the Starlink satellite Internet system, has been helping the Ukrainian army by sending it its connection system for free.
According to Elon Musk, between 20,000 and 25,000 satellite dishes are now in the hands of Ukrainians. But the company, which claims to have put 100 million dollars out of its pocket, no longer wants to pay.
“The nerve to present themselves as heroes”
In a letter sent by Starlink to the Pentagon, which CNN has seen, SpaceX is now asking the US government to fund the cost of the satellite internet connection system in Ukraine, which is expected to climb to $400 million over the next 12 months. “They have the nerve to present themselves as heroes” tackles an American Defense executive with CNN.
“We cannot give other terminals to Ukraine or fund those that are in service indefinitely,” the company wrote to the Pentagon on September 8.
The information consulted by CNN shows that a Starlink kit – including the dish – costs between 1500 and 2500 dollars per unit. To connect, you then have to pay a flat rate of $500 per month, although the company claims to provide a service equivalent to the most expensive offer ($4,500 per month) as a gesture of solidarity with Ukrainians. . Note that these prices are much higher than Starlink’s “general public” services.
An “indispensable” tool
According to the documents, 85% of the Starlink equipment already in the field was actually paid for by the United States, but also by other countries such as Poland, which offered 9,000 terminals. These same contributors paid 30% of the monthly subscription bill for the connection. Starlink settles the difference.
“Starlink became indispensable as the Russians targeted Ukrainian telecommunications infrastructure. Without this tool, Ukrainians would have to act blindly in many situations,” said Dimitri Alperovitch, co-founder of think tank Silverado Policy Accelerator, to CNN.
A state of dependence that could force several Western countries to pay the bill, if Elon Musk’s company no longer wished to contribute financially. The businessman has recently been heavily criticized on Twitter, after being accused of supporting Russian demands to end the conflict.