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Elon Musk’s Starlink During Ukraine War: The Brand’s ‘Make or Break’ Strategy?
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Elon Musk’s Starlink During Ukraine War: The Brand’s ‘Make or Break’ Strategy?

On the plea of Ukraine’s vice prime minister, Elon Musk made an effort to provide high-speed internet to the country during the war crisis. Since Russia attacked Ukraine, many people in the country weren’t able to connect with others due to internet disruption. In less than 12 hours, Musk replied to the tweet, ‘Starlink is now active in Ukraine’.

This did help Musk in getting praised all over the world because now Ukrainians just need to open their Wi-Fi settings and select Starlink from there. The shipment of Starlink satellite dishes or terminals reached in no time. But is it the magic wand of Elon Musk or a strategy that is not going to stick for the long run? Let’s come to this but first, we will understand the Starlink review in detail.

What Is Starlink Exactly?

Starlink is technically a division within SpaceX and it was developed in 2015. Its prototype was firstly launched in 2018 into orbit. Since then the launches have continued and today more than 2000 satellites are in orbit. Although most of them are not operational and are just prototypes.

ExtremeTech
Image source: ExtremeTech

The idea behind this innovation is to provide internet access in those areas where infrastructure cannot reach that easily. Starlink can provide high-speed internet where the internet is not reliable. The connection requires a small satellite dish at home to receive the signal and get the bandwidth. Its app on iOS and Android can easily detect the perfect location for dish placement through augmented reality.

In terms of speed and delivery, users can get 50 to 150 megabits per second with a latency of 20 to 40 milliseconds over a few months. The website of Starlink also mentions that the speed and connectivity will rise with the launch of more satellites, installing ground stations, improving network software, data speed, and more.

Is Starlink An Instant Fix?

We don’t think so! Even if Musk acted on time and offered such smart services, the results of its meaningfulness look far away. The space policy expert, Brian Weeden, said, ‘It’s nice for him to offer, but that doesn’t mean it will have a meaningful impact right away.’

Yes, there are a lot of limits to highly praised Starlink which has been transported to Ukraine during the war and difficult times.

If any Ukrainian wishes to use the internet or get their hands on terminals, the kit itself costs $499 with a $99 service per month. There has been no actual update about the number of active terminals in Ukraine now. The company hasn’t also revealed if it is planning to send in more in the coming days.

There is a working plan for Starlink. The planted terminals must stay a hundred miles from the ground station as it helps in connecting the satellite beam signals to the dishes. As of now, there is no chance of planting these ground stations within the country. However, the situation could be resolved if ground stations are settled in neighboring countries.

Starlink needs a clear view of the sky to maintain a direct line of sight between terminal and satellite, according to the SpaceX website. The researchers have claimed that if a tree or building comes in between the signal, it breaks. Weeden said, ‘If a few trees can block Starlink connection, I’m pretty sure that Russia and China or another state actor can.’

Now even if Starlink has improved, then its working in a warzone can be questionable. Any airstrike can break the whole connection. Moreover, it’s the first time it is being tested during a war-like situation. It makes the situation very difficult to predict if Ukraine’s connectivity problems would be resolved.

Ok, so we can agree that something is better than nothing. Ukraine might be able to connect in a little better way through this. But the question is, is it a make-or-break strategy by Elon Musk? Here are some facts that leave the decision on our readers.

  • After a volcano eruption in Tonga last month, the undersea cables got destroyed and cut off the island. SpaceX sent Starlink dish to set up a new grounding station in Fiji. Musk himself said that the services are patchy but they will improve soon.
  • During the early days of COVID, Musk confirmed that Tesla would manufacture ventilators. However, hospital staff said that these machines were not ventilators but a type of breathing machine.

Getting in natural disasters is pretty different from a war zone. So what is your opinion on Elon Musk’s brand strategy? Share your views with us in the comments section below.

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