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SpaceX’s Starlink inks first in-flight WiFi deal -Breaking


© Reuters. FILEPHOTO: SpaceX Starlink5 satellites can been seen above the sky from Svendborg (South Funen), Denmark, April 21, 2020. Image taken at long exposure Ritzau Scanpix/Mads Claus Rasmussen via REUTERS

Joey Roulette

WASHINGTON, (Reuters) – SpaceX has signed its first agreement with an airline to offer in-flight Wi-Fi internet via the Starlink satellite network. The space company made the announcement on Thursday while it competes with other satellite companies to bring high-speed internet to commercial aircraft.

Tesla’s Chief Executive Elon Musk has held talks with airlines for several months to offer Starlink Internet in-flight. This is a crucial part of SpaceX’s strategy to attract enterprise customers to go beyond households and consumers in remote areas.

Semi-private Jet Service JSX has signed the deal. It involves the equipping of 100 aircrafts with Starlink terminals. The first Starlink-connected airplane will take flight before the end of the year, according to the charter company. A spokesperson from JSX declined to reveal the amount of the partnership.

SpaceX has sent approximately 2000 Starlink satellites from low-Earth orbit to date. It offers broadband internet to thousands in just a few countries, for $110 per month, using a terminal dish of $599 about the same size as a pizza box.

SpaceX applied for regulatory approval by the U.S. Federal Communications Commission in order to operate Starlink aircraft and ships. The company had also previously tried the network on a few Gulfstream jets as well as military aircraft.

Starlink will be available on JSX airplanes at no cost to customers. According to the jet service, it also stated that there will not be any logging required or complicated legacy system integrations.