The Russian legislative body is evaluating the imposition of fines for private citizens and companies that use services from OneWeb, SpaceX or another company in the West that offers Internet access via satellite. The objective of the Russian authorities is to prevent the national population from looking for these alternatives and to encourage the use of their own service, Sphere, which is still being developed.
The Russian edition of Popular Mechanics explains that fines range from 10,000 to 30,000 rubles for private citizens (between 120 and 390 euros) and between 500,000 and one million rubles (6500 to 13000 euros) for companies. One of the reasons that may be behind the prohibition of this type of access is also the fact that, when accessing via these satellites, users would be able to bypass the Russian System of Operational Search Measures, that is, the control and monitoring system of use Internet and mobile communications, recalls the ArsTechnica.
It should also be recalled that Russia has been very active in criticizing SpaceX and the head of the country’s space program, Dmitry Rogozin, has already stated that the Starlink network is a scheme to provide the US Special Forces with interrupted communications capabilities. Starlink was described in August as “a predatory, intelligent, powerful and state-of-the-art US policy to advance its military interests first.”
The inclusion of OneWeb in this list of possible prohibited entities is intriguing in the sense that the company uses the Russian Soyuz rocket for almost all of its launches and the company’s investment has helped the Russian space program.
Russia does not want to miss this race and is planning to launch its own constellation, known as Sphere. There are no official confirmations yet, but the first satellites for this project with a $ 20 billion budget could be launched in 2024. In comparison, Roscosmos, the Russian space agency, has an annual budget of $ 2.4 billion.