- Elon Musk said SpaceX will add a donate option to Starlink for areas in need of internet.
- Musk said SpaceX was burning through $20 million per month to maintain Starlink in Ukraine.
- The CEO has seemingly backtracked on his refusal to fund Starlink in Ukraine.
SpaceX plans to let people to donate money towards its Starlink satellite internet service for areas in need of broadband access, according to CEO Elon Musk.
The billionaire’s comments were in response to a tweet by Ham Serunjogi, CEO of fintech Chipper Cash, who said he’d be willing to donate Starlink to schools and hospitals in Uganda.
“Are there others that want to donate Starlinks to places in need?” Musk wrote in a Twitter post.
Six minutes after posting, the post gained thousands of likes and Musk tweeted again, saying: “Ok, we will add a donate option to Starlink.”
Plans for Starlink donations come after Musk has expressed how the satellite internet network continues to lose money, especially after aiding Ukraine earlier this year following Russia’s invasion.
CNN reported on Thursday that SpaceX asked the Pentagon to take over paying for Starlink in Ukraine because the company couldn’t afford it. SpaceX projected in a September letter to the Pentagon that running Starlink in Ukraine would cost more than $120 million for the rest of 2022 and nearly $400 million over the next year, per CNN.
Musk said on Friday in response to a Twitter thread that referenced CNN’s article it was “unreasonable” for SpaceX to pay indefinitely for the existing Starlink network in Ukraine on top of sending thousands more internet terminals with higher data usage to the country. He also tweeted that SpaceX was burning through around $20 million per month to maintain Starlink in Ukraine.
The following day, Musk seemed to u-turn on his plea for help, suggesting that SpaceX will keep funding Starlink in support of Ukraine during its war with Russia.
“The hell with it,” he said, adding that SpaceX will go on funding the Ukraine government for free, despite the amount of money Starlink continues to lose.
SpaceX, designed to provide internet to rural locations, also delivered 120 Starlink internet kits to southwest Florida in the aftermath of Hurricane Ian, according to Gov. Ron DeSantis. Other schemes put in place using Starlink include providing internet to a remote 3,000-person indigenous community in Canada.