SpaceX donated 120 Starlink user terminals to the state of Florida to provide free Internet access to communities after Hurricane Ian. The Category 4 storm made landfall in southwest Florida on Wednesday, September 28. It was one of the biggest storms to ever hit the United States that affected the entire state from coast-to-coast. Severe flooding damaged homes and blocked roadways, leaving many trapped at home and shelters.
According to a report by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), over half a million Florida residents lost access to utility services, including landline telephone, home internet, and television cable services. Having a reliable communication system is crucial for emergency responders to help civilians recover after Hurricane Ian's catastrophic aftermath.
On Saturday, October 1st, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis announced that SpaceX founder Elon Musk donated over one hundred Starlink kits that include all the hardware needed to access the Starlink satellite broadband constellation. "We are working with Elon Musk and Starlink satellite," DeSantis told reporters. "They are positioning ...those Starlink satellites to provide good coverage in southwest Florida and other affected areas. [...] We are working with SpaceX and we are expecting 120 additional large Starlink units to deploy to Southwest Florida," he said. "They donated the cost associated with all the coverage, so I want to thank SpaceX and thank Elon Musk for that." DeSantis shared that one Starlink antenna is capable of beaming Internet service within a "13-mile radius and support over 1,000 users at a given time." The Starlink antennas will be installed in affected communities and also be given to search and rescue emergency responders. Watch Governor Ron DeSantis' announcement in the video linked below.
SpaceX's Starlink satellite service has demonstrated it is reliable to provide high-speed internet access to thousands in remote regions where internet is unavailable. In February, the company shipped 15,000 Starlink user terminals to Ukraine to help civilians stay informed amid the Russia invasion. Starlink has helped Ukrainian soldiers protect civilians and coordinate operations. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy thanked Musk for helping reinstate internet services in the country. "It helped us a lot, in many moments related to the blockade of our cities, towns, and related to the occupied territories," Zelenskyy told reporters.
Featured Image Source: Governor Ron DeSantis via Twitter
About the Author
Evelyn Janeidy Arevalo
Evelyn J. Arevalo joined Tesmanian in 2019 to cover news as a Space Journalist and SpaceX Starbase Texas Correspondent. Evelyn is specialized in rocketry and space exploration. The main topics she covers are SpaceX and NASA.
Follow me on X