SpaceX’s satellite Internet service Starlink may soon power Wi-Fi services on some flights, offering travelers a new option for connecting to their favorite services while traveling. According to SpaceX’s VP Jonathan Hofeller, Starlink has already performed some demonstrations of an ‘aviation product,’ which the company says it aims to finalize for use on aircraft soon.
SpaceX is already in talks with multiple airlines over the potential use of Starlink as an in-flight WiFi provider, according to a report from CNBC. The company’s VP Hofeller revealed some details about the effort during the Connected Aviation Intelligence Summit, noting that the company is looking to make this aircraft product available ‘in the very near future.’
A number of airlines already use satellite Internet providers for in-flight WiFi services, but there’s a distinct benefit to using Starlink as a provider. Unlike competing services, Starlink’s satellites are in low Earth orbit, offering the potential for faster, more useful Internet access during a flight.
Hofeller noted that because Starlink offers a ‘global mesh’ of satellites, airlines would benefit from using it as a provider by having connectivity anywhere — an experience, he says, that other satellite Internet providers ‘simply cannot provide.’
Starlink is still a budding service at this time, but has rolled out service for some customers under a beta program with plans to expand availability in the future. Other details, including when the Starlink service may arrive as an in-flight option and which airlines SpaceX is talking with, haven’t been revealed.