Amazon to invest $13.7b in satellite broadband plan

Amazon's Kuiper constellation gets FCC approval

Amazon will target areas without good Internet service and said that "Project Kuiper will deliver high-speed, low-latency broadband service to places beyond the reach of traditional fiber or wireless networks".

The project will see Bezos pumping in more than $10 billion into a constellation of 3,236 satellites in an effort to provide "reliable, affordable broadband service to unserved and underserved communities around the world".

Amazon's Project Kuiper will compete with the Starlink constellation being set up by Elon Musk's SpaceX.

No date has been given as to when Project Kuiper would come online but the FCC requires the company to launch and operate half of its constellation by July 2026 with the remaining half to be operational by mid-2029. In addition, the company must commit to taking the equipment out of orbit after the end the project, so as not to contribute to the high amount of space waste in the region. It could also become a new business for Amazon, selling internet service to people or companies. Company executive Dave Limp said in a written statement that he has heard many things that people are not able to do their office work or school properly because of lack of reliable internet at home. On Thursday, the Federal Communications Commission granted the tech giant approval to "deploy and operate our constellation of 3,236 satellites", the company announced on its Day One blog.

"There are still too many areas where broadband access is unreliable or in which it will not exist in any way".

The Kuiper system will be deployed in five phases, with service beginning once the first 578 satellites are launched. Project Kuiper will be designed and tested in Amazon's all-new research and development facility opening in Redmond, Wash.

Notably, Amazon had suggested that it will take the satellites out of orbit within 355 days but FCC needs more information around it.

By comparison, SpaceX has launched more than 500 satellites of the roughly 12,000 expected for its Starlink constellation in low-Earth orbit and plans to offer broadband service in the United States and Canada by the year's end.

Jeff Bezos, CEO of Amazon, also owns rocket firm Blue Origin which could assist in getting the satellites into orbit.

The FCC approval includes requirements for minimizing orbital debris and collision risk, prevention of harmful interference, spectrum sharing, and power limits.

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