SpaceX CEO Elon Musk said that his company has nearly 100 active Starlinks satellite internet constellations in Iran, three months after the billionaire business magnate tweeted that the service would be activated.

“Approaching 100 Starlinks active in Iran.” Musk tweeted on Monday.

Activists have smuggled the Starlink receivers into the country to improve communication links, despite satellite dishes being illegal in the country.

Launched in 2019, Starlink is a satellite internet constellation service operated by SpaceX, which provides satellite internet access coverage to 45 countries. This month, Starlink reached a milestone with more than 1,000,000 active subscribers

Starlink has nearly 3,300 small operational satellites in orbit out of 3,612 launched overall, according to statistics from Harvard-Smithsonian astronomer Jonathan McDowell, who tracks the service on his website.

The SpaceX CEO said in September that he would activate Starlink in the Islamic Republic, in response to a tweet by Secretary of State Antony Blinken which stated that the U.S. had taken action “to advance internet freedom and the free flow of information” to Iranians.

Massive protests have engulfed Iran following the killing of Kurdish-Iranian woman Mahsa Amimi by the regime’s morality police on Sept. 16 for “improperly” wearing her hijab. Civil unrest and protests have engulfed the country ever since. 

With internet shutdowns and platform disruptions becoming increasingly common regime tactics to quell dissent, the satellite-based broadband service could help Iranians get around their government’s restrictions.

JNS

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