Kuiper constellation: Amazon gets approval to provide internet from space

Kuiper constellation: Amazon gets approval to provide internet from space

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has unanimously approved Amazon's broadband satellite project. Amazon has earmarked more than $10 billion for the project, inspired by "customers in every corner of the world", a company blog post said, citing the COVID-19 pandemic-and the families, researchers, first responders, and companies it's affected-as the driving force.

Amazon lags behind SpaceX in terms of deployment, since the latter company is actually launching satellites for its Starlink network, and looks ready to enter a beta testing program for the service this summer.

Amazon said the satellites could provide internet to parts of the world that don't have it. "We're off to the races", said Dave Limp, SVP at Amazon.

Project Kuiper, a roughly $10 billion investment, will change that, Mr.

The FCC's approval for Amazon's "Project Kuiper" requires Amazon to launch the first half of its satellites by the middle of 2026, and the rest of them by the middle of 2029. "There are still too many places where broadband access is unreliable or where it doesn't exist at all".

The FCC notes that Amazon failed to "present specific information concerning some required elements of a debris mitigation plan" in its filing, though the company claimed it plans to deorbit satellites within 355 days, which would fall well within NASA's standards if true.

Delivering high-speed, low-latency, affordable broadband service to places beyond the reach of fiber or wireless networks, however, is no small task.

Rival SpaceX has already 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 USA and Canada by the year's end.

The investment will create jobs and infrastructure around the U.S., build and scale ground networks, accelerate satellite testing and manufacturing, and deliver "an affordable customer terminal that will make fast, reliable broadband accessible to communities around the world".

The FCC grants permission for public and private entities to use sections of the wireless spectrum, assigning permission to use frequencies for specific functions - for Starlink, OneWeb, Kuiper, and other planned providers who plan to provide web data to and from space to blanket the USA and other areas of the world in low-lag, high-speed broadband. The Jeff Bezos -led e-commerce giant has opened a brand new R&D facility in Redmond, Washington dedicated entirely to Kuiper development, however, and partner Blue Origin, Bezos' space launch company, has been securing significant industry partnerships and could be ready to provide launch services for Kuiper satellites relatively soon.

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