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A SpaceX Starlink customer in Ukraine says he's readied his satellite internet dish for emergency use should regular broadband services be cut during Russia's invasion.
Oleg Kutkov, an engineer based in Ukraine's capital city Kyiv, told Insider he'd intended to use Starlink for research and experiments for his job. He's now preparing for broadband outages as Russian troops push towards Kyiv and force Ukrainians to take shelter in basements and metro stations.
Starlink comprises a $499 internet kit, including a small satellite dish, and requires a $99-a-month subscription. The dishes are also known as terminals or "Dishy."
Kutkov said he's positioned the dish on his window ledge because he doesn't have a dish mount.
"It's possible that the local internet infrastructure will be destroyed," he said. "This would be the emergency state and time for my Dishy."
On Monday, Ukraine's first vice prime minister, Mykhailo Fedorov, tweeted a photo which appeared to show the delivery of a truckload of Starlink dishes to the country. He thanked Elon Musk and Musk replied: "You are most welcome."
Kutkov told Insider he bought his Starlink kit in December, when the service wasn't operating in Ukraine.
After seeing Musk's tweet on Saturday about Starlink being activated in Ukraine, Kutkov said he decided to try and connect to the service. He said he didn't expect Starlink to go live in the country as soon as 10 hours after Ukraine asked Musk to sent Starlink kits.
Kutkov said his first connection attempt failed because his account was registered in the US instead of Ukraine, but said the Starlink team helped him fix the problem.
He said he successfully tested the Starlink kit on Monday and found the results "amazing." He said on Twitter that Starlink has provided him with speeds of 200 megabits per second.
"I didn't expect it will work but the system appears to be robust and provides a great connection," he said.
When Kutkov spoke to Insider on Tuesday, it was 2:00 a.m. in Ukraine. He said he was monitoring the situation with the invasion while his wife slept.
"I must say that it's hard to work under daily shelling and bombing," he said. "We are evacuating to a bomb shelter a few times a day. This is not just dangerous but exhausting."
Kutkov said he hadn't yet needed to use Starlink for an emergency and was using his fibre optic connection.