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Viasat believes ‘cyber event’ is disrupting its satellite internet service in Ukraine

A Viasat Inc. logo seen displayed on a smartphone and in the background.
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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 Viasat outage began on Feb. 24, the day Russia invaded Ukraine, according to the company. Viasat said it notified “law enforcement and government partners.” While the investigation is ongoing, Viasat added that “we have no indication that customer data is involved.”

Viasat declined to say how many customers are being impacted by the outage. It is unclear how many customers Viasat has in Ukraine.

Shares of Viasat were little changed in premarket trading from its previous close of $43.50.

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.

Viasat operates large satellites in geosynchronous orbit – meaning they are stationary at a point above the Earth, and placed about 35,000 kilometers above the Earth to maximize each satellites’ coverage area.

That represents 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 that 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 vice prime minister Mykhailo Fedorov.

Musk did not specify the number of terminals, which represent the ground antenna for users to connect to the network, or when SpaceX’s additional support 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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