Elon Musk-owned SpaceX has announced that its satellite internet service Starlink will soon be available on select airplanes with the official launch of Starlink Aviation next year.
According to The Verge, the company claimed the service will offer internet speeds of up to 350mbps to each plane equipped with its Aero Terminal, which it says is fast enough for video calls, online gaming, “and other high data rate activities”.
Most flights use air-to-ground systems, which top out at around 10 mbps per flight (and only work while flying over land), while current satellite systems typically offer between 30Mbps and 100Mbps, the report said, citing OneZero. Since these speeds are per plane, actual speeds can vary depending on the number of passengers using the internet in each flight, it added.
Support pages on SpaceX’s site claim that its internet connections will be available throughout taxi, takeoff, flight over land and water, and landing, with latency as low as 20ms.
“Starlink Aviation will have global coverage,” an FAQ reads. “Since the satellites are moving in low-earth orbit, there are always satellites overhead or nearby to provide a strong signal at high latitudes and in polar regions — unlike with geostationary satellites,” it added.
On a recent test flight, Aviacionline reports that Starlink Aviation was able to offer 100Mbps internet speed onboard.
The demonstration was conducted on a flight between Burbank and San Jose, California, by JSX, which in April announced it would be one of the first air carriers to adopt the inflight internet service.