SpaceX donation will boost connectivity of hurricane-affected Floridians
Image via The Associated Press.

elon musk ap
Donation will help places feeling cell services outages.

Being able to get online has become almost as important as having power, so Elon Musk got a shout-out Saturday from Gov. Ron DeSantis for helping Hurricane Ian victims feel less disconnected.

Some companies, such as Xfinity-Comcast and Charter Communications, made their hotspots free to people in the hurricane-ravaged areas, according to a Saturday news release. But the Tesla and SpaceX founder’s effort was mentioned at both DeSantis’ Saturday news conferences, one in Fort Myers and the other in Wauchula, Hardee County.

Thirty SpaceX Starlink units are now in use in Lee and Charlotte counties and 120 more are coming, DeSantis said. These devices beam down satellite internet access from a 13-mile radius, supporting 1,000 users at any given time.

“They donated the costs associated with all that coverage,” DeSantis said. “So we want to thank SpaceX, thank you Elon Musk.”

A Federal Communications Commission (FCC) report issued Saturday showed that Hardee County, with nearly half its sites down, leads the state in cell sites out of service. DeSoto is second, with just a little less than 40% of its cell sites down, followed by Charlotte, Lee, Collier and Volusia counties. Out of the state’s 67 counties, 52 of them, from Duval to Monroe counties, were experiencing some cell site service outages as a result of the storm, according to the FCC report.

DeSantis said some of these Starlink units will be going to Collier County, if there’s a place to put them. Rural counties will also be getting them, he said.

The Starlink units are necessary to draw down the internet access coming from the satellites, DeSantis explained.

The internet access “is coming from space to here, and then onto your device, but you can’t get the connectivity straight to your device from the satellite unless you have one of these things,” he said, pointing to some black, boxy objects resembling stereo speakers.

Anne Geggis

Anne Geggis is a South Florida journalist who began her career in Vermont and has worked at the Sun-Sentinel, the Daytona Beach News-Journal and the Gainesville Sun covering government issues, health and education. She was a member of the Sun-Sentinel team that won the 2019 Pulitzer Prize for coverage of the Parkland high school shooting. You can reach her on Twitter @AnneBoca or by emailing [email protected]


4 comments

  • Tom

    October 2, 2022 at 8:32 am

    This is the pure csn to spirit from America’s Gov. he is wonderful looking for solutions.

    Shout out to Musk in making extra effort to provide! Govs presser made it clear yesterday, the star links per Musk are helping already.

    During Covid, it was Gov Ron who uniquely made the monoclonal centers available to all.
    He was the first to offer, He marched around the state to open and provide the monoclonal vaccine.

    Florida led seniors in getting the Covid inoculation. He set up senior center areas across the state to do so. He set it up eventually by age groups access.

    America’s Gov, the best!

  • Hope

    October 2, 2022 at 9:09 am

    Thank you SpaceX Elon Musk and the Best Governor in America Ron DeSantis!

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Comments are closed.


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