Elon Musk’s SpaceX is in talks with “several of the airlines” to provide in-flight WiFi using the company’s Starlink satellite internet service.
Starlink is the company’s constellation of satellites in low-Earth orbit, designed to provide internet access. Because they are in low-Earth orbit, the service is much faster and has lower latency than traditional satellite internet. Many customers are reporting speeds well over 100 Mbps.
SpaceX is now in talks with airlines to provide in-flight WiFi, a move that could be profitable and help raise awareness for the service. SpaceX said earlier this year that it intends to beam internet service to all kinds of mobile transportation including planes, ships, and trucks.
“We’re in talks with several of the airlines,” Jonathan Hofeller, SpaceX’s VP of Starlink and commercial sales, said Wednesday. “We have our own aviation product in development… we’ve already done some demonstrations to date, and looking to get that product finalized to be put on aircraft in the very near future.”
Ultimately, the company intends to interlink the satellites with “space lasers” enabling the Starlink network to exchange data between satellites directly instead of beaming to Earth and back.
SpaceX is currently in the lead among low-Earth orbit satellite options, and a deal with airlines could help cement that lead even more.
The low-Earth orbit Starlink constellation includes 1,635 satellites so far and has an ultimate goal of 42,000 total. Currently, Starlink is servicing remote houses and businesses that aren’t able to receive internet service by other means.