SpaceX will accept donations to provide its services in areas lacking internet access or infrastructure, the company’s CEO Elon Musk announced on Twitter.
Musk’s decision followed a short Twitter thread with Ham Serunjogi, CEO of fintech Chipper Cash, who said he would be “glad to commit $$ to donate Starlink to schools & hospitals in Uganda.” According to Serunjogi, the speeds and the ease of setup of Starlink are so impressive that they make him excited about the terminals’ potential in remote and rural locations.
Musk reacted by asking if anyone else would like to follow in Serunjogi’s footsteps.
The post has attracted many reactions, with Twitter users requesting clarifications regarding the scope of places where Starlink can be used, as well as the accompanying regulatory frameworks.
Some of the suggested locations include Zimbabwe, India, the Philippines, and Angola, with many being ready to cash in for Starlink’s deployment.
Following the flood of suggestions, Musk reacted with an affirmative “Ok, we will add a donate option to Starlink.”
Last week, CNN published an exclusive article saying SpaceX asked the Pentagon to pay for its satellite services in Ukraine as the company can no longer afford it. According to Musk, the program has so far cost SpaceX $80 million and will exceed $100 million by the end of the year.
Musk called the continuous funding “unreasonable,” as SpaceX “cannot fund the existing system indefinitely *and* send several thousand more terminals that have data usage up to 100X greater than typical households.”
However, Musk – the world’s richest man with a net worth of $254 billion as of August 2022 – changed his rhetoric the following day, saying that the company will continue “funding the Ukraine government for free” by providing Starlink services. Currently, there are approximately 25,000 Starlink terminals in Ukraine that allow the military and civilians to stay connected during the war.
The Federal Communications Commission has previously denied SpaceX’s application to receive $888.5 million in funding to supply the Starlink satellite broadband internet service to rural areas. The FCC argued that SpaceX “failed to demonstrate” that it “could deliver the promised service.”
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