SpaceX has just announced the launch of its satellite internet service for aircraft with a speed of up to 350 Mbps. From next year, the first travelers will be able to make video calls from the air.
Not so long ago, a flight meant a complete interruption of the Internet for a few hours. These days, more and more planes offer Wi-Fi using one of two technologies. Either the aircraft connects to ground stations, a slow technology that can be interrupted while crossing the ocean, or it connects via satellite, which allows coverage anywhere in the world.
It is therefore not surprising to see SpaceX launch its own offer to outfit aircraft. It is called Starlink Aviation and promises speeds of 350 megabits per second (to be shared between all passengers) and low latency of just 20 milliseconds. This paves the way for video calls and online video games from the air.
The first deliveries are planned for 2023
The promised speeds represent a significant improvement over existing in-flight satellite connections, which do not exceed 100 Mbps. SpaceX already offers other similar subscriptions, with Starlink Maritime for boats, which also promises 350 Mbps, or Starlink VR for RVs (which aren’t meant for on-the-go use, though).
Deliveries to Starlink Aviation will begin in 2023. It appears that the first customers will be private jets, but Hawaiian Airlines had already announced a partnership with SpaceX for a small number of units in April. Elon Musk’s company has also indicated that it is working to obtain permission to install Starlink equipment on twelve aircraft models. For those interested, the site asks for a deposit of $5,000, then $150,000 to purchase the equipment. However, it does not indicate the price of the monthly subscription.