SpaceX in talks with airlines to provide in-flight Wi-Fi via Starlink
Elon Musk—via Starlink, a division of SpaceX—is in talks with "several" airlines to provide in-flight WiFi for passengers. His plan is to use Starlink's ever-growing megaconstellation of satellites to equip customers with better WiFi while they fly the friendly skies.
Jonathan Hofeller, SpaceX's vice president of Starlink and commercial sales, gave out details on the ambitious plan during a panel at the Connected Aviation Intelligence Summit on Wednesday.
“We are in talks with several airlines. We have our own aviation product in development… we’ve already done some demonstrations to date, and looking to get that product finalized to be put on aircraft in the very near future.” says Jonathan Hofeller.
Hofeller said the design for SpaceX's airline antennas will be very similar to the technology inside its consumer terminals, but "with obvious enhancements for aviation connectivity", the report said.
The aviation hardware will be designed and built by SpaceX, he noted. The airborne antennas could link with ground stations to communicate with Starlink satellites.
Last year, SpaceX filed plans to test Starlink on five Gulfstream jets. And in March, it sought US Federal Communications Commission approval to use Starlink with vehicles that receive a signal, including cars, trucks, ships and aircraft.
Since 2018, SpaceX has launched nearly 1,800 Starlink satellites out of the roughly 4,400 it needs to provide global coverage of broadband internet, primarily for rural homes where fibre connections aren't available.
The company is currently promising speeds between 50 and 150 Mbps for the Starlink project, but this year the company said it will increase the speed to 300 Mbps.