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Viasat Believes ‘Cyber Event' Is Disrupting Its Satellite-Internet Service in Ukraine

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  • California-based Viasat announced on Monday that it believes "a cyber event" disrupted its satellite internet service in Ukraine.
  • "Viasat is experiencing a partial network outage — impacting internet service for fixed broadband customers in Ukraine and elsewhere on our European KA-SAT network," the company told CNBC.
  • The Viasat outage began on Feb. 24, the day Russia invaded Ukraine.
  • Elon Musk, CEO of Viasat rival SpaceX, said his company's service is "active in Ukraine," with "more terminals en route" to provide internet access to the country.

Viasat said Monday that it believes "a cyber event" disrupted its satellite-internet service in Ukraine, with an ongoing outage under investigation.

"Viasat is experiencing a partial network outage — impacting internet service for fixed broadband customers in Ukraine and elsewhere on our European KA-SAT network," the California-based company said in a statement to CNBC.

"We are investigating and analyzing our European network and systems to identify the root cause and are taking additional network precautions to prevent further impacts while we attempt to recover service to affected customers."

The outage began on Feb. 24, the day Russia invaded Ukraine, according to the company, which said it notified "law enforcement and government partners," adding it has "no indication that customer data is involved."

It is unclear how many customers Viasat has in Ukraine, and the company declined to say how many are being affected.

Shares of Viasat were up 3.5% in midday trading Monday at about $45.

SpaceX says it is sending dishes to Ukraine

A Starlink user terminal, also known as an antenna or satellite dish, on the roof of a building.
SpaceX
A Starlink user terminal, also known as an antenna or satellite dish, on the roof of a building.

Viasat operates large satellites in geosynchronous orbit — meaning they are stationary at a point about 35,000 kilometers from Earth to maximize coverage area.

That's the traditional method of providing broadband service from space, but a number of companies are pouring funds into developing networks in low-Earth orbit that utilize hundreds or thousands of satellites — such as SpaceX's Starlink.

On Sunday, SpaceX CEO Elon Musk announced his company's service is "active in Ukraine," with "more terminals en route" to provide internet access to the country. Musk's tweet came in response to a request for Starlink support from Ukraine digital minister Mykhailo Fedorov.

Musk did not specify how many terminals — or ground antennas that connect users to the network — were being sent or when they would arrive.

SpaceX has launched 2,000 Starlink satellites to date. The company's service has around 145,000 users as of January, who pay $99 a month for the standard service or $500 a month for a premium tier.

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