E-commerce giant Amazon on Thursday announced that it will invest around $10 Billion to develop a network of 3,236 satellites for the constellation of low earth orbit (LEO) satellites that would offer high-speed broadband services to people around the world who are devoid of such services.
This announcement comes after the US Federal communication commission approved Amazon’s plan, “Project Kuiper”.
Dave Limp, Senior Vice President at Amazon said,
“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,”
This project will also avail the wireless carriers which provide 5G and other wireless services to new regions.
“A project of this scale requires significant effort and resources, and, due to the nature of LEO constellations, it is not the kind of initiative that can start small. You have to commit,” the company said in a blog post.
SpaceX, by comparison, aims at launching 12,000 satellites in its Starlink constellation which is in the low Earth orbit. Out of these, SpaceX has already launched 500 satellites. It also plans to provide broadband and LTE services in USA and Canada by the year-end Gwynne Shotwell, the president of SpaceX believes that the entire project will cost them about $10 billion.
While being extremely costly to deploy, satellite technology can provide high-speed Internet for people who live in rural or hard-to-serve places where fiber optic cables and cell towers do not reach. Another difficulty is that the technology could be a backstop when hurricanes or other natural disasters disrupt communication.
A 5-0 vote by the FCC administration requires Amazon to launch half its satellites by mid-2026 and the rest by mid-2029. Amazon has said that it will start providing broadband service once 578 satellites are launched. Amazon has 110 open positions for its project Kuiper on its website. The designing of the satellites will be done at a research and development facility opening in Redmond, Washington.