Elon Musk Donates Starlink Units, Helps Reconnect SW Florida to The World

Tesla CEO Elon Musk has dominated headlines this year after making a foray into politics and when he announced that he would buy Twitter.

Now, Musk is making headlines for using innovative technology to help Floridians in need after the devastation caused by Hurricane Ian.

A Federal Communications Commission report found that of Florida’s 67 counties, 52 were experiencing issues with cellular and internet connection.

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis announced on Saturday that 150 Starlink units would be delivered to Southwest Florida to help restore internet access to the area.

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DeSantis said that Musk’s technology will help Floridians “connect with their loved ones” in the aftermath of Hurricane Ian.

“Thanks to your innovative technology, Floridians will be able to better connect with their loved ones,” Gov. Ron DeSantis wrote on Twitter Saturday.

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Musk donated the 150 Starlink units without making the Florida government pick up any of the costs.

“They donated the costs associated with all that coverage,” “So we want to thank SpaceX, thank you, Elon Musk.” Said DeSantis.

The Starlink units are necessary to draw internet access down from the satellites, DeSantis explained.

The internet access “is coming from space to here, and then onto your device, but you can’t get the connectivity straight to your device from the satellite unless you have one of these things,” He said.

Musk decided to donate 120 additional Starlink units after 30 were already in use in Lee and Charlotte county. One device can support up to 1,000 people using the internet at any given time.

“We are working with Elon Musk and Starlink satellite,” DeSantis told reporters on Saturday. “They are positioning those Starlink satellites to provide good coverage in southwest Florida and other affected areas. We are expecting 120 additional large Starlink units to deploy to Southwest Florida.”

Musk sent Starlink units to Ukraine to assist in the war effort after Russia invaded in February.

Ukrainian officials have said that the units were essential as Russia blockaded key Ukrainian cities and cut off internet access.

“It helped us a lot, in many moments related to the blockade of our cities, towns, and related to the occupied territories,” Zelenskyy told Wired.

Other internet providers have assisted Floridians who lost connection after Hurricane Ian.

X-Finity Comcast and Charter Communications provided free hotspot access to people in areas affected by the Hurricane.


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