Musk launches Starlink for private Jets

Elon Musk’s space exploration company SpaceX is aiming to provide high-speed Wi-Fi on airplanes with the launch of Starlink Aviation. Starlink Aviation will utilize the existing Starlink constellation of satellites to provide internet access to private jets. To access the service, customers will have to buy a one-time $150,000 airplane antenna, and pay a monthly fee of $12,500 to $25,000 for internet service. The internet speed offered will be up to 350 Mbps, allowing users to engage in video conferences and even gaming while in-flight.

Interested customers can pre-book the service by paying a $5,000 fee. The company will start delivering the terminals in mid-2023.

Other companies, such as Inmarsat and ViaSat, currently dominate the market for airborne connectivity. However, Starlink is not the only contender in the race to provide inflight internet service. OneWeb, a satellite operator backed by the UK, has also been approaching airlines and private jet owners.

In an effort to market and sell its broadband service to airlines, OneWeb recently announced a deal with Panasonic Avionics, which currently provides service to around 70 airlines. Viasat’s proposed acquisition of Inmarsat, however, has been referred to Britain’s competition regulator over concerns that the move could negatively impact competition in the aviation connectivity market and result in increased prices for airlines’ onboard Wi-Fi.

SpaceX’s plans to offer Starlink internet connectivity to Hawaiian Airlines planes in 2024 are already in place. Starlink already provides internet service to maritime customers and RVs and has tens of thousands of individual consumers paying $110 a month with a $599 terminal.

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