Having access to the Internet while traveling by plane is a luxury that few can afford, although being without Internet for several hours can cause significant losses in many businesses.
We are not talking about being able to watch Netflix online, or browsing TikTok, we are talking about being able to make an important communication, read an email with changes to a last minute meeting or send a presentation made during the flight so that the whole world once in destiny.
In order to make that possible, the folks at SpaceX’s growing satellite internet network, Starlink, are partnering with various airlines to bring internet to their planes.
This was communicated by Jonathan Hofeller, the vice president of the project, during the “Connected Aviation Intelligence Summit” conference, when he commented that they plan to open the broadband network commercially at the end of this year, always among the airlines with which they work (initially in United States).
They indicate that they have already done some demonstrations, and hope that everything will be finalized for installation in airplanes within a very short time, but they have not given details of dates or final prices for the consumer.
In the last 3 years, SpaceX has launched almost two thousand Starlink satellites, although it needs more than 4,000 to provide global broadband Internet coverage. The goal is always to offer Internet in rural homes, where fiber connections are conspicuous by their absence. They promise download speeds of up to 100 Mbps and upload speeds of 20 Mbps. So far there are already tens of thousands of users of this network, who pay about 99 per month to enjoy the service.
Hofeller said that the design of the necessary antennas will be similar to the technology they use today in their consumer terminals, but with improvements that allow aviation connectivity.
Like the antennas used today, the aircraft hardware will be designed and built by SpaceX. Airborne antennas could connect to ground stations, all so that they can communicate with Starlink satellites.