The first airlines are testing the Internet from Elon Musk on airplanes

Internet Starlink SpaceX is part of Elon Musk’s space company, which works to provide airlines with broadband Internet.

Poor, interrupted and frozen internet connections are still a source of frustration for passengers who want to work on the plane. Elon Musk believes he can change that.

American Delta Air Lines has agreed to try to present its products on board. Currently, the Delta 300 uses the service provided by the operator Viasat. It costs $ 5 per passenger. for a flight.

According to the head of Delta, the carrier has already begun negotiations with Starlink. However, interviews and tests are at a very early stage, and Ed Bastian declined to comment on whether the first attempts were successful. Details are also available at Space Exploration Technologies Corp. Elon Musk.

Over the past few years, Starlink has repeatedly launched Internet satellites into its downstream orbit and sold broadband Internet services to businesses and consumers. Just in place. As Elon Musk wrote in 2021, his company decided to focus on getting a certificate for the Boeing 737 and Airbus SE A320, the most popular aircraft in the world. The plans are relevant as analysts predict a growing demand for Wi-Fi on passenger planes. According to Euroconsult, a satellite consulting firm, the number of connected planes could double to 20,000 by the end of this decade.

Satellite telecommunications companies such as Intelsat SA and Viasat Inc. already have communication systems that allow aircraft to communicate directly. Dave Bijur, Intelsat’s vice president of commercial aviation, said many airlines wanted to offer high-quality broadband communications on flights. The limitation here is that the weight of the aircraft cannot be increased and the costs must be kept as low as possible when the appropriate installation is carried out.

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Ed Bastian believes that the Internet on planes should be not only fast, but also free. Delta wants to offer such a service to the most loyal passengers and those traveling in the premium class. Carrier tests already offered free Internet before the COVID-19 pandemic.

Jonathan Hofeller, Starlink’s vice president, said the internet service offered on the planes today is outdated and “ripe for overhaul”. “Expectations have changed faster than technology,” Hofeller said, adding that Starlink already has 250,000 subscribers, including residential and corporate customers.

According to SpaceX’s plans, Starlink will be a great business opportunity for the company, which will have more than 40 million subscribers by 2025. So far, Starlink is seeking permission from the Federal Communications Commission to deploy another 30,000 Starlink satellites. However, the National Aeronautics and Space Agency is in no hurry to issue a permit, as it believes that space is already crowded and there is a risk of potential collisions.

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has already allowed SpaceX to test Starlink for aircraft. However, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) must certify satellite equipment installed on commercial aircraft, a spokesman for the regulator said.

However, Starlink will have other problems finding contracts with airlines. J. Armand Musey, founder of Summit Ridge Group, a satellite communications consultant, said carriers typically have long-term contracts with Wi-Fi providers and must set a time to install Starlink equipment on existing aircraft. “Acquiring a significant market share is a process that will take at least a few years,” Armand Mussey told the WSJ.

Existing providers are also trying to improve their services. Viasat and they rely on Delta as a customer. The company is currently building three high-capacity satellites that will improve service to both airlines and ground customers. According to Viasat, the first will be commissioned this year.

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