Elon Musk’s SpaceX in talks with airlines to provide in-flight Wi-Fi via Starlink


Faster and reliable internet on aeroplanes is long overdue and Tesla CEO Elon Musk is working towards it. If reports are to be believed, Musk now wants to provide in-flight wifi via Starlink satellite internet service. Musk’s space company SpaceX is reportedly in talks with several airline companies to provide the commuters with in-flight WiFI through the Starlink satellite internet service. Not too long, Google collaborated with SpaceX to get Starlink’s high-speed broadband Internet for its infrastructure.

SpaceX’s VP of Starlink and commercial sales told a panel at the Connected Aviation Intelligence Summit on Wednesday that the company is working towards providing in-flight wifi to travellers.”We have our own aviation product in development … we’ve already done some demonstrations to date and [are] looking to get that product finalized to be put on aircraft in the very near future,” he was quoted as saying by the Verge. Although Hofeller did not reveal when Starlink will begin proving in-flight wifi, he said that an announcement is coming “hopefully sooner rather than later.”

For the unversed, the airlines currently use satellite broadband providers for inflight Wi-Fi, but the existing services use satellites in distant orbits. The Starlink satellite on the other hand orbits closer to the earth which could be one of the key reasons why the speed of the Starlink would be faster and more stable than the other in-flight services used by the airlines.

SpaceX started rolling out Starlink satellites in 2018 to improve broadband internet connections primarily in rural areas. Musk had initiated the pre-orders for its Starlink broadband services earlier this year. Starlink was available for pre-orders for $99. Recently, the company announced that Starlink broadband has received over 500000 pre-orders.

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“To date, over half a million people have placed an order or put down a deposit for Starlink,” said Siva Bharadvaj, a SpaceX space operations engineer, during a broadcast of SpaceX’s latest launch of Starlink satellites — 26th Starlink mission. “With every launch, we get closer to connecting more people across the world.”

Coming to its services in India, Starlink is expected to arrive in India by 2022. However, the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) wants Musk’s company acquire the required licenses before offering any services to the country. “DoT has no objections to SpaceX offering the Starlink satellite internet service in India. But it must comply with the laws of the land and seek an appropriate license and other authorisations before offering the service to Indian consumers,” a source was quoted as saying.