Amazon has received approval from the U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to launch and operate a planned constellation of 3,236 internet satellites with investing more than $10 billion. The plan called “Project Kuiper”, for the constellation of low-Earth orbit (LEO) satellites that will compete with the Starlink network being built out by Elon Musk’s SpaceX.
“We have heard so many stories lately about people who are unable to do their job or complete schoolwork because they don’t have reliable internet at home,” said Dave Limp, Senior Vice President, Amazon. “There are still too many places where broadband access is unreliable or where it doesn’t exist at all. Kuiper will change that. Our $10 billion investment will create jobs and infrastructure around the United States that will help us close this gap. We appreciate the FCC’s unanimous, bipartisan support on this issue, and I want to thank Chairman Pai and the rest of the Commission for taking this important first step with us. We’re off to the races.”
Amazon’s Kuiper also includes plans to provide backhaul service as well. This means a high-speed LTE and 5G wireless connections to customers of carriers in more areas where they don’t currently have the ground station infrastructure. “These projects will expand broadband access to more households in the United States and around the world,” Amazon states. While it’s costly to deploy, satellite technology can provide high-speed internet for people who live in rural areas where fiber optic cables and cell towers do not reach. So this technology could also be critical when natural disasters disrupt communication.
With this project, Amazon has opened new positions as well. “Project Kuiper will be designed and tested in our all-new research and development facility opening in Redmond, Wash.” Amazon states.