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Elon Musk Says Starlink Will Provide Faster Internet Speeds On Airlines

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Tesla CEO Elon Musk stands in the foundry of the Tesla Gigafactory during a press event. year.

Patrick Pleul | image alliance | image alliance | Getty Images

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

“Please let them know if you want it on your airliner,” Musk wrote in a tweet, adding that Starlink could add “low latency ~ half-gigabit connectivity in the air!”

Starlink is the company’s plan to build an interconnected Internet network with thousands of satellites, known in the space industry as a constellation, designed to provide high-speed Internet to consumers all over the planet.

SpaceX has launched 1,740 Starlink satellites to date, and the network has more than 100,000 users in 14 countries participating in a public beta, with service priced at $ 99 per month.

SpaceX vice president Jonathan Hofeller said earlier this year that the company was “in talks with several” airlines to add Starlink in-flight Wi-Fi, noting that it had an “aircraft product in development.” .

“We have already done some demonstrations to date and [are] seeking to finalize this product for use on airplanes in the very near future, ”said Hofeller in June.

Airlines are working with satellite broadband providers for in-flight Wi-Fi, with Viasat and Intelsat – the latter of which bought Gogo’s commercial aviation business – two such companies adding connectivity on flights airlines such as 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 speeds passengers see in flight.

Hofeller also pointed out that Starlink “provides a global mesh”, so that “airlines flying under this global mesh have connectivity wherever they go.”

Shares of Gogo, which now focuses on business aviation rather than commercial airlines, fell as much as 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 said that “regulatory approval” currently dictates the timeframe for which Starlink can be used by airlines, as the service “must be certified for each type of aircraft.”

“Focusing on the 737s and A320s, because those serve the most people, with development testing on Gulfstream,” Musk said in a tweet in June.

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