This Wednesday SpaceX announced that its subsidiary Starlink, whose goal is to send internet from space, was going to reach a new level. The company founded by Elon Musk more than 20 years ago is launching Starlink Aviation this week. This company should be able to provide internet access on board aircraft in flight.
However, this new service is not accessible to everyone. Starlink announces a starting price of $150,000 for hardware equipment and $12,000 for a “standard” subscription. Depending on the packages, the latter can climb up to 25,000 dollars per month.
$25,000 per month for 350Mbps
In its press release, SpaceX announces that the first terminals to maintain the connection during a flight will be delivered in the second half of 2023. They should make it possible to reach 350Mbp/s. On its website, the company explains that this should allow “all passengers” to enjoy the internet without waiting.
In order to achieve this technical feat, Starlink relies on its constellation of 2,000 satellites in orbit. At the beginning of the year, a first partnership had already been signed with the world of aviation. Hawaiian Airlines can now offer a wifi connection to all its passengers for flights across the Pacific.
Today having an internet connection in an airplane is still a phenomenon. Airlines are starting to develop solutions in this direction, but like trains, the network is generally quite bad, which does not allow smooth use for demanding activities (such as video streaming).
Internet in planes: a booming market
According to 2020 figures, more than 6,000 aircraft around the world are now equipped with a solution allowing them to connect to the internet. The device, which recovers the signal from terrestrial 4G antennas, only works in continental flight. It also costs the airlines nearly 500,000 euros.
Starlink’s solution is therefore very advantageous. Half the price of its main competitor, it also allows you to get rid of borders with a permanent connection to the Internet. Although still imperfect, the internet speed will be much better with satellites than with the relay of 4G antennas in an airplane.
As such, the option offered today by SpaceX is of interest to a good number of airlines. This solution shows in any case the ambitions of Elon Musk with his internet connection service. The businessman wants to connect the whole world to the web with his satellites and he multiplies the offers.
Starlink: the offers are multiplying, the customers too
Today Starlink is available in France for users who live in “white areas”. The service also makes it possible to ensure a connection in territories where the link has been interrupted. This is notably the case of Ukraine recently.
With this new offer for aircraft, SpaceX is opening up to a new market and will try to increase its number of customers. In an investor report by Elon Musk last spring, the service had 400,000 subscribers.