SpaceX has revealed the official details of its Starlink satellite internet service for aviation, and it promises to deliver speeds of up to 350 Mbps for each airplane. Delta Chief Executive Ed Bastian admitted earlier this year that the airline conducted “exploratory tests” of Starlink’s internet technology for its planes. Hawaiian Airlines also announced that it will start deploying Starlink internet with “select” aircraft in 2023 around the same time. Shortly after that and after launching Starlink for RVs, the Federal Communications Commission authorized the company to provide satellite internet services to vehicles.
Starlink Aviation, according to the company’s FAQ page, will be available worldwide, as long as the plane equipped with its Aero Terminals has an unobstructed view of the sky. The service’s satellites are moving in Low Earth Orbit, so there’s almost always one or a few overhead. SpaceX says that means passengers will have consistent access to the internet, whether the plane is over land or water and even while it’s taxiing or landing.
If Starlink Aviation can truly deliver on SpaceX’s promises, that would make it a lot faster than other satellite options that only offer speeds of up to 100 Mbps per plane at most. The company claims the service will allow passengers to do things they couldn’t do so mid-flight, such as making video calls, playing online games and using VPN.
The service will initially be available for select airplanes, but the company plans on developing support for more airframes in the future. SpaceX intends to start deliveries for the Starlink Aviation Aero Terminal kits in 2023, so the first airlines to offer the service as an in-flight WiFi option will likely announce it in the coming months.
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