Elon Musk’s SpaceX is expanding its satellite internet unit’s push into in-flight WiFi services with the launch of Starlink Aviation on Wednesday, which offers clients a $150,000 (roughly Rs. 1.2 lakh) aeroplane antenna in the face of increasing competition for airborne connectivity.
According to the company’s website, Starlink, SpaceX’s growing network of thousands of internet satellites, will charge customers seeking broadband internet on private jets between $12,500 (nearly Rs. 10.3 lakh) and $25,000 (nearly Rs. 20.7 lakh) per month for the service, on top of a one-time $150,000 hardware cost.
According to information on Starlink Aviation’s website, terminal deliveries will start in the middle of 2023. Reservations require a payment of $5,000 (roughly Rs. 4.1 lakh). Each terminal can now deliver up to 350Mbps, which is quick enough for online gaming and video conversations.
In a market dominated by firms like Inmarsat and its rival ViaSat, which are set to merge, low-Earth orbiting satellite network builders like SpaceX’s Starlink and Britain-backed satellite operator OneWeb are vying for airlines and private jet services.
OneWeb on Tuesday announced a deal to market and sell its broadband service to airlines by the middle of 2023. Panasonic Avionics, a market leader in in-flight broadband, provides service to about 70 airlines.
Last week, the British competition watchdog referred Viasat’s proposed acquisition of rival Inmarsat for a thorough review due to worries that the alliance could stifle fresh competition in the airline connection market and drive up the cost of in-flight Wi-Fi.
Next year, SpaceX intends to provide Starlink internet connectivity on Hawaiian Airlines aircraft. Tens of thousands of individual clients currently use the service, which costs $110 (about Rs 9,100) per month with a $599 (around Rs 49,700) terminal, and the company sells it to RVs and nautical customers.
“The US Department of Defense had not provided any financing for SpaceX’s Starlink services. The announcement followed reports that the Pentagon may decide to pay for the Starlink satellite network in the conflict-torn Ukraine.”Elon Musk said
According to Musk’s tweet, unpaid service and expenditures associated with security measures for cyberwar defence are costing SpaceX about $20 million (about Rs. 165 crore) per month.
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