SpaceX rolled out aviation-specific Starlink satellite internet service on Tuesday, with Elon Musk’s company looking to expand further into the inflight WiFi market.
The company is charging $150,000 for the hardware needed to connect a jet to Starlink, with monthly service costs between $12,500 a month and $25,000 a month. Deliveries to aviation customers are scheduled to “start in mid-2023,” the company said, and reservations require a $5,000 initial payment.
SpaceX advertises “global coverage” through a flat-panel antenna that customers would install on top of an aircraft. SpaceX said it is seeking Federal Aviation Administration certificates for a variety of aircraft, most of which are typically owned and operated as private jets.
As for the quality of the service, SpaceX says Starlink aviation customers can expect speeds up to 350 Megabits per second, “enabling all passengers to access streaming-capable internet at the same time.”
“Passengers can engage in activities previously not functional in flight, including video calls, online gaming, virtual private networks and other high data rate activities,” SpaceX said on its Starlink website.
Article by Michael Sheetz, @thesheetztweetz
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SpaceX has quietly rolled out a new, more powerful “premium” tier of its Starlink satellite internet service that’s targeted at businesses and enterprise customers.
The new product, which was added to the company’s website Tuesday night, comes at five times the cost of the consumer-focused standard service. Starlink Premium requires a $500 refundable deposit, a $2,500 fee for the antenna and router, and the service costs $500 per month.
The standard Starlink service, which launched in October 2020, has a $99 refundable deposit, a $499 hardware fee and the service costs $99 per month.
Elon Musk’s company is touting improved hardware, faster service speeds and priority support in its pitch to prospective premium customers.
“Starlink Premium has more than double the antenna capability of Starlink, delivering faster internet speeds and higher throughput for the highest demand users, including businesses,” the SpaceX website said.
The first premium deliveries will begin in the second quarter, the Starlink website notice added.
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SpaceX says its satellite internet service, Starlink, has achieved a latency under 20 milliseconds, which is on par with ground-based broadband.
Two benchmark tests, conducted by Ookla's Speedtest.net service, show Starlink achieving a 102 to 103Mbps download rate, 40 to 42Mbps upload rate, and a latency of 18 to 19ms. For comparison - the average latency for fixed broadband in the US is 25ms, while the rate on mobile networks is at 48ms, according to Speedtest.net. Interestingly, both benchmarks occurred on June 30, and in Seattle, Washington, at a time when SpaceX only had about 500 Starlink satellites in orbit. The company now has more than 700 satellites around the planet, which will likely improve coverage and data speeds.
SpaceX is manufacturing about 120 Starlink satellites each month. Their goal is to launch thousands of them into space to enable worldwide coverage and download speeds of 1Gbps. The company is also "on track" to produce thousands of user terminals consumers can hook up their homes to receive the satellite-based boradband. In addition, SpaceX plans on gearing up for a public beta trial for users "across multiple US states."
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