Elon Musk’s SpaceX has launched Starlink Aviation which will offer in-flight Wi-Fi services for private jets. Starlink Aviation will start delivering terminals in mid-2023. SpaceX claims that each terminal can deliver up to 350 Mbps, fast enough for video calls and online gaming.
Starlink’s ever-growing constellation of low-earth orbit satellites has enabled the deployment of the company’s satellite internet service in far-flung and even war-torn regions. Now, the company wants to expand to add airborne connectivity to that. Starlink is asking customers to pay a $150,000 one-time fee for the airplane antenna. Other than this, the customers seeking broadband internet will have to shell out between $12,500 to $25,000 a month for the service.
“Passengers can engage in activities previously not functional in flight, including video calls, online gaming, virtual private networks, and other high data rate activities,” SpaceX said on its Starlink website.
Just last month, SpaceX hosted a demo flight to test the capabilities of Starlink satellite internet service on a private jet. During a one-hour flight from Burbank to San Jose, California, SpaceX showcased Starlink’s capability to deliver WiFi for Netflix, and YouTube, as well as video chats from 30,000 feet in the air, Bloomberg reported. However, the speed can vary depending on the number of passengers using the internet on each flight.
OneZero reported that for in-flight Wi-Fi most flights either use air-to-ground systems which offer a speed of 10Mbps per connection (one flight usually has just one connection) that too while flying over land. The current satellite systems typically offer between 30Mbps and 100Mbps. Since these speeds are per plane,
Earlier, SpaceX signed a deal with commercial air carrier Hawaiian Airlines and semi-private charter provider JSX to provide Wi-Fi on planes. It will start providing wireless internet on Hawaiian Airlines flights as early as next year. The airline will offer the service to passengers free of cost, CNBC reported.
Starlink is SpaceX’s network of over 3000 satellites in low earth orbit, that circles the planet in approximately 90 to 120 minutes. It is designed to deliver high-speed internet to even the remotest area on the planet. Up until now, SpaceX has been approved to conduct a limited amount of inflight testing. At present, Starlink is offering its services to maritime customers and RVs alongside several thousand individual users paying nearly $110 a month with a $599 terminal.