SpaceX CEO Elon Musk said Tuesday that the firm is close to having 100 active Starlinks, the firm’s satellite internet service, in Iran, three months after he tweeted that he would activate the service there in response to protests across the country.
As of Monday, Musk said that ‘100 starlinks are active in Iran,’ in a tweet.
In September, the billionaire said that he would activate Starlink in Iran as part of a U.S.-backed effort “to advance internet freedom and the free flow of information” to Iranians.
Iranians seeking to bypass the government’s restrictions on internet access and certain social media platforms might be able to do so thanks to a satellite-based broadband service. The Iranian authorities have already restricted access to Instagram and WhatsApp — until this autumn the last remaining unfiltered social media services — and then clamped down on apps like the Google Play Store as well as Virtual Private Networks (VPNs) that seek to circumvent local access restrictions.
The morality police arrested 22-year-old Mahsa Amini in September for wearing ‘unsuitable attire,’ and she subsequently died in police custody. This incident incited a wave of protests across the Islamic Republic.
Starlink has over 2,000 tiny satellites orbiting just a few hundred kilometres above Earth, providing internet access to users below. The land-based terminals are then wired up to basic routers that create small wifi spots.
Earlier this year, controversial billionaire Musk sent thousands of Starlink terminals to the Ukraine just days after Russia’s invasion. Ukraine now has 20,000 of the small white receivers throughout the country.
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