to search SpaceX IncTo demonstrate its success in providing high-speed Internet services even at 30,000 feet through its Starlink satellite system, to provide airline passengers with the ability to watch content on applications such as Netflix and YouTube. So it recently held a media demo on an aircraft operated by its first airline customer, regional carrier JSX.
The short flight from Burbank to San Jose, Calif., is the start of Elon Musk’s bid to take over the in-flight business from satellite providers Intelsat and Viasat Inc, which already serve thousands of aircraft.
Despite Elon Musk’s power, and his tenacity in many areas, Jeff Surrey, head of commercial aviation at Intelsat, believes his company can’t be beaten.
Starlink, part of SpaceX, provides broadband service from a constellation of small, low-flying satellites. Downstream satellites orbit the planet in 90 to 120 minutes. What’s different about Elon Musk’s satellites is that they represent a departure from the established practice of using a few powerful satellites in high and slow orbits. The positive aspect of Starlink is that its signals reach faster.
Starlink has launched more than 3,000 satellites and served more than 400,000 customers, the company said in its latest figures, reported by Bloomberg and seen by Al Arabiya.net.
But the downside of Musk’s technology is that smaller satellites have less capacity and may struggle to meet the needs of larger aircraft in crowded skies. Dozens of planes are spread across travel hubs, each carrying 100 or more passengers. Because the satellites are spread across the globe, some of them may be serving areas like Atlanta and its busy airport, raising questions about overall capacity.
US regulators recently cited StarLink’s “technology in development” when they turned down the service in exchange for $866 million in government aid.
StarLink said it can service planes of all sizes, citing an agreement with parent company Hawaiian Airlines to service larger Airbus and Boeing planes. As for the denial of support, the company said it was unfairly denied by officials who used existing data speeds instead of the high-speed service envisioned during the construction of the satellite network. decided to
Quilty Analytics partner Chris Quilty, a consultant in the aerospace and satellite industry, said: “System operation and pricing are industry success tools.” “It’s a very complex market. Historically, airlines have been very cautious.”
The company’s deals with JSX and Hawaiian, announced in April after SpaceX offered StarLink services to four major U.S. airlines, fell through, according to Bloomberg, citing people familiar with the matter.
“If Starlink’s experiment with JSX is successful, it will spread throughout the airline industry,” said communications analyst Roger Entner.
Part of the JSX’s appeal was Starlink’s flat antenna, no bigger than a large pizza box. It is thinner than the rotating plates widely used by other satellite services, so it fits the fuselages of Brazilian Embraer SA’s small regional aircraft JSX.
In turn, Intelsat says it is the largest provider of on-board service, with about 2,000 aircraft connected by its satellites and about 1,000 aircraft communicating with ground-based air-to-ground systems. are connected to Viasat said its in-flight system serves about 1,930 aircraft, with contracts to equip another 1,210 aircraft.
There are already about 10,000 aircraft equipped with commercial wireless services on board, and that number will exceed 36,000 by 2031, according to NSR, a satellite and aerospace research firm owned by Analysys Mason. According to NSR, annual market revenue is expected to exceed $7.3 billion by 2031, up from $1.9 billion in 2021.
On the JSX test flight, the Starlink system consistently recorded transmission capabilities in excess of 100Mbps, as measured by Ookla, a test service. About 10 people were on board. The additional equipment on board increased demand by 20 to 30 passengers using the system.
A few days after the test flight, a flight to the United States reached about 2.2 Mbps on an American Airlines Airbus with Viasat equipment and more than 100 passengers.
On both visits, Netflix and YouTube videos played smoothly and two-way video chats worked well on WhatsApp. And on every plane, email was easily received and sent, another selling point — or maybe not — for those who miss flights as an escape from work.