What just happened? Starlink is already available on land and at sea, and soon you'll be able to tap into the satellite-based mobile Internet service in the air. Starlink Aviation is billed as a high-speed, low-latency, in-flight Internet connectivity option that'll work regardless of your location. According to SpaceX's Twitter post, passengers will have access to the service from the moment they walk onto their plane.
The service promises up to 350 Mbps to each plane with latency as low as 20 ms, enabling online activities not previously possible on a flight such as online gaming, video calls and connecting to virtual private networks.
Starlink will bring its tech to planes using a low-profile Aero Terminal featuring an electronically steered phase array antenna designed to enhance reliability, redundancy and performance. Each kit includes an Aero Terminal, a power supply, two wireless access points and all of the necessary harnesses.
Pricing is set at $15,500 to $25,000 per month for unlimited data with a one-time hardware fee of $150,000. I have no idea how this compares in terms of commercial Internet pricing, but at least one charter operator has already publicly backed the service and expects to have it installed by the end of this month.
It is also unclear if this is meant for large commercial airliners or smaller, charter operators like JSX. Either way, it is an amenity that either sector could leverage against the competition to put more butts in seats. How airlines decide to price the service and attempt to recoup some of the cost to maintain the network is up to them.
Starlink has had a busy 2022. The company launched a service for RVs back in May and in July, Musk and company announced Starlink Maritime for boats, ships, yachts and oil rigs, with Royal Caribbean signing up for the largest deployment of Starlink in the travel industry. In September, Starlink said it wanted to put its Internet service on rural school buses so kids could do homework during their commute.
Image credit: Fallon Michael