Elon Musk Says “Ok” to Question About Bringing His Internet Service to Cuba

CEO of Tesla Inc. Elon Muskopened the door to the possibility of bringing its Internet service to Cuba.

The South African tycoon responded with a brief “Ok” to a question he asked on his Twitter account Agustin AntonettiArgentine defender of human rights.

Musk shared a tweet announcing that Starlink – the satellite Internet connection service of his company SpaceX – is already active on all continents, “including Antarctica.”

A netizen who identifies himself as a researcher, writer, and journalist asked if it is technically possible to provide Starlink to the Iranian people, something that “could be a game changer for the future,” he noted.

“Starlink will request an exemption from Iranian sanctions in this regard,” the billionaire replied.

It was then that Antonetti, a well-known activist against the Castro regime, asked him.

“Could you do the same with other countries under a dictatorship like Cuba, for example? You would save many lives,” he wrote.

To which Musk only replied: “Ok”.

“Starlink is a hope for the fight for freedom in Latin America, we trust you, thank you very much for your help,” added Antonetti.

Although Musk is willing to offer Internet access in Cuba from space through Starlink, this option presents many obstacles.

The satellites act as a relay (switch) between people in remote locations and ground stations that are connected to the web through fiber optic cables. To connect, the user must be close enough to one of these web-connected stations, and have a satellite phone or computer connected to a satellite dish.

The first requirement is met, because much of Cuba’s surface appears to be within range of at least one Starlink station in Punta Gorda, Florida. But very few Cubans have a satellite phone or a Starlink satellite dish. The regime controls access to such equipment and does not allow its entry into the country.

The only satellite signal capable of being received by mobile phones is that of the GPS service, but communication in this case would be unidirectional, only from the satellite to the mobile, and not in the opposite direction, for which the user would not be able to use Internet or exchange data packets.

There is also the legal obstacle that transmitting the Internet to a country against the will of its government is a violation of international law.

For now, Cubans connect through virtual private networks (VPNs), which have allowed people living under repressive regimes around the world to evade online censorship.

Cubans use them more and more, despite government censorship.

On July 15, four days after the historic protests, almost 1.4 million unique users in Cuba connected to the network through Psiphon, a circumvention tool for mobile phones and computers that allows unrestricted access to the Internet.

By next year, Musk’s satellite signal could reach cell phones directly.

The businessman assured at the end of August that Starlink will be able to transmit a signal directly to mobile phones. However, it will not be a network designed to replace the current 4G and 5G network connectivity, but rather a basic support to avoid coverage dead zones.

The technology tycoon, born in Pretoria in 1971 and nationalized Canadian and American, is a physicist, programmer and businessman whose fortune placed him this year as the richest person in the worldwith a net worth estimated at about 252 billion dollars.


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