Elon Musk says Starlink will bring faster internet speeds to airlines

Elon Musk, CEO of Tesla, stands at the Tesla Gigafactory during a press conference. year.

Patrick Pöhl | painting alliance | painting alliance | Getty Images

Elon Musk on Thursday touted SpaceX’s plan to use Starlink for in-flight Wi-Fi, highlighting that his company is in talks with airlines to add high-speed satellite Internet service.

“Please let them know if you want this on your airliner,” Musk tweeted, adding that Starlink could add “low latency ~ half a gigabit connection in the air!”

Starlink is the company’s plan to create an interconnected internet network with thousands of satellites, known in the space industry as a constellation, designed to bring high-speed internet to consumers anywhere in the world.

To date, SpaceX has launched 1,740 Starlink satellites, and the network has over 100,000 users in 14 countries participating in the public beta, at a cost of $ 99 per month.

SpaceX vice president Jonathan Hofeller said earlier this year that the company is “in talks with several” airlines to add Starlink onboard Wi-Fi, noting that it has “an aviation product underway.”

“We have already held several demonstrations and [are] we hope that this product will be further developed for installation on an aircraft in the very near future, ”Hofeller said in June.

The airlines are working with satellite broadband providers for onboard Wi-Fi, Viasat and Intelsat, the latter of which acquired the commercial aviation business Gogo, two such companies that are adding connectivity on airline flights, including Delta, JetBlue, American Airlines and United. But while existing services use satellites in distant orbits, Starlink satellites orbit closer to Earth and could increase the speed passengers see in flight.

Hofeller also stressed that Starlink “provides a global grid” so that “airlines flying under this global grid have the ability to connect wherever they are.”

Gogo, which is now focused on business aviation rather than commercial airlines, fell 5% in trading on Thursday.

A Boeing 737-200 prepares to land at Jorge Newbery Airport in Buenos Aires on August 21, 2008.

Juan Mabromata | AFP | Getty Images

Musk previously stated that “regulatory approval” currently sets the timeline for when an airline can use Starlink, as the service “must be certified for every aircraft type.”

“Focusing on the 737 and A320 as they serve the majority of people with development testing at Gulfstream,” Musk said in a June tweet.

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