SpaceX’s Starlink Internet Is Working in Places It’s Not Supposed To

SpaceX’s Starlink Internet Is Working in Places It’s Not Supposed To

Starlink satellite internet terminals are reportedly still operating in unlicensed places, despite the company’s warning last month that the service would be shut down by May 1 in those areas.

A resident of Al-Fashir in North Darfur, Sudan was able to conduct an interview with Bloomberg using one on Wednesday.

“I’m currently talking to you through the Starlink connection, it’s the only way of connecting between people, especially those who fled the war,” he told Bloomberg, referring to the civil war between the Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF) and the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF).

The Starlink shutdown warnings came after Bloomberg and the Wall Street Journal reported of its unauthorized use in nations including Russia, Yemen, and Venezuela. Starlink accountholders received emails from Starlink about the impending shutdown in those unlicensed areas, Bloomberg and the Journal reported. “If you are operating your Starlink Kit in an area other than areas designated as available on the Starlink Availability Map, we would like to remind you that this is in violation of the Starlink terms,” the email read, adding that those users would be unable to connect to the internet starting on April 30th.

An online poll found that of almost 100 Starlink customers in South Africa, 73% could still use the service after the shutdown date, Bloomberg reported, adding that some Starlink customers in Sudan were also able to access the service.

Starlink users were told in an email the service was only intended for “temporary travel and transit,” in unlicensed places, rather than for permanent use. It added that users who have accessed Starlink outside of authorized places for over two months should “change your account country or return to the country in which your service was ordered,” or else their service would be cut off, Bloomberg reported.

The notice also comes as, SpaceX is reportedly close to a licensing deal to provide Starlink in Yemen. SpaceX, Starlink’s parent company, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Humanitarian organizations in Sudan told Bloomberg they have asked that Starlink’s services not be cut off in the country amid the war.

“We have contacted Starlink in order to consider the situation in Sudan and not cut services,” Hadreen, a local charity, told Bloomberg. “The majority of the emergency rooms, the public kitchens and thousands of people are using Starlink internet to survive.”

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