AMAZON SEEKS APPROVAL FOR “PROJECT KUIPER” TAKE-OFF
- July 15, 2019
- Posted by: Lead Contributor
- Category: Uncategorized
Amazon who recently revealed its Project Kuiper plan to establish a satellite broadband venture in low-Earth orbit has now published a bit more about the specifics of its program in the FCC filing which was first reported by GeekWire. The filing by Amazon seeks permission from the U.S. communications regulator to launch over 3,000 communications satellites that will provide the foundation of its network.
This comes as a massive move, and this may mean, Amazon Prime members may be getting internet services at home from Amazon.
The filing stated that “The satellite network will offer more reliable access and broadband-speed connectivity to many of the existing 3.8 billion people globally, and 21.3 million Americans that don’t currently enjoy any access to ground-based broadband. Besides, to the underserved consumers in rural areas, The E-commerce giant will also use the network to offer “mobile broadband connectivity services for aircraft, maritime vessels and land vehicles.”
The race among several top players in the sector is well underway to build a next-generation broadband network in space, as companies roll out plans to use a constellation of thousands of small satellites.
In 2018, Elon Musk’s SpaceX launched two test satellites for its “Starlink” network which was the first step toward SpaceX goal of a constellation of more than 4,000 satellites. Besides, Softbank-backed OneWeb recently launched the first six satellites of its network, with the plans to begin with a constellation of over 600 interconnected satellites.
The satellites built by OneWeb cost about $1 million each, and they plan to launch all the spacecraft over the next two years.
Although the federal filings do not reveal the cost or timeline of Amazon’s project, industry analysts forecast that it will take about a decade before Project Kuiper gets off the ground. Many companies tried and failed to pull off the space-based Internet.
In 2015, Facebook opted out of a plan to spend $1 billion on a satellite that would provide Internet to underserved regions in Africa and other continents. It broadband onboard Spacecom’s AMOS-6 satellite was later destroyed when SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket exploded during fueling before launch in 2016.
Teledesic, planned to build low Earth satellites that will provide internet service, was heavily funded by Bill Gates of Microsoft. The Teledesic project came to an abrupt end in 2002, after racking up more than $9 billion costs.
The possible gains for Amazon and others could be immense, as it would provide Amazon’s own business, satellite networks with internet speeds comparable to Earth-bound fibre optic networks would be very lucrative.