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SpaceX in talks to power in-flight Wi-Fi

2021-06-10 18:14 by
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SpaceX is "in talks with several" airlines to use its Starlink satellite internet network to provide travelers with inflight Wi-Fi, the leader of the company's project said on Wednesday.

SpaceX would create technology specialized to the aircraft to transmit the internet through the use of airline antennas but with "obvious enhancements for aviation connectivity."

"We're in talks with several of the airlines," Jonathan Hofeller, SpaceX's VP of Starlink and commercial sales, told a panel at the Connected Aviation Intelligence Summit on Wednesday. "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."

The Starlink constellation, which will eventually consist of thousands of satellites, offers a low-cost, high-performance solution to fast internet access. Aimed at rural and remote customers who have limited access to broadband service, Starlink is capable of delivering 150Mbps speeds to theoretically any location on the planet.

SpaceX began a beta rollout of its Starlink satellites in 2018 in order to cover a global dearth of broadband internet connections, particularly in rural areas where fiber connections generally aren't readily available. Under the beta plan, most Starlink customers pay a one-time fee of $499 for a bundle that includes a self-aligning Starlink dish and Wi-Fi router, and then $99 per month for monthly internet services after that. In the years since it first launched, the company has launched nearly 1,800 Starlink satellites out of the 4,400 it estimates it would need in order to provide global coverage.

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