Musk negotiates with airlines to offer Wi-Fi on planes
One of the problems of travelers when using the plane as a means of transport is not having wifi during the flight, something that has undoubtedly piqued the interest of several companies, including SpaceX, the tycoon and one of the richest men in the world, Elon Musk.
The company will seek to solve that headache for people. And it is that the high costs of some airlines, added to the slowness that the service can present during the trips, has caused a new ‘race’ to conquer an alternative that guarantees it.
(Starlink, Elon Musk’s satellite internet project in South America)
This week, during a panel at the ‘Connected Aviation Intelligence Summit’ the subject was discussed. The meeting was attended by industry representatives such as David Fox, vice president of connectivity services at Deutsche Telekom Inc; Ammar Khan, CEO of SkyFive AG; Jim MacDougall, Gogo Vice President of Product Management; Brent King, head of flight operations for the International Air Transport Association (Iata), among others.
The Vice President of Starlink and Sales of SpaceXJonathan Hofeller, who also attended the summit, said he “is in talks with several airlines” to provide internet service on airplanes.
“We have our own aviation product in development. We have already conducted some demonstrations to date and we expect that product to be finalized for installation on aircraft in the very near future,” he said.
A year ago, SpaceX presented plans to test Starlink on five Gulfstream aircraft and in recent months requested authorization from the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), in the United States, to use that system with ground stations in motion (Esim, for its acronym in English), which are the vehicles enabled to receive the signal, including cars, airplanes and boats.
In fact, Elon Musk has said on several occasions that Starlink should be used for these types of vehicles. At the time, he posted a trill saying: “Do not connect Tesla cars to Starlink, as our terminal is much larger. This is for planes, boats, trucks and recreational vehicles.”
Not connecting Tesla cars to Starlink, as our terminal is much too big. This is for aircraft, ships, large trucks & RVs.
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) March 8, 2021
How would it work?
According to reference The Verge, a technology media outlet, SpaceX has launched nearly 1,800 Starlink satellites out of the 4,400 it would need to provide the global broadband Internet coverage already in use in multiple locations.
(Countries where Starlink, Elon Musk’s satellite internet already works)
Hofeller said at this week’s meeting that SpaceX’s antennas to enable this system will have design enhancements “very similar to the technology within its consumer terminals.” And he clarified that both consumer antennas and aviation hardware will be designed and built by his company.
For Starlink to provide connectivity to planes Passing over oceans, away from ground stations, inter-satellite links will be required. “The next generation of our constellation, which is in operation, will have this connectivity between satellites,” Hofeller said.
Finally, he explained that the satellites of Starlink they could increase the speed of the Internet during the flights by the proximity to the Earth. “A global mesh is provided. Airlines would fly underneath it and have connectivity wherever they go.”