Amazon plans to invest $10 billion in a new satellite-internet venture—testing to begin in 2024.
- Amazon plans to launch its Project Kuiper satellites in 2024 and test internet space satellites.
- The project consists of 3,236 low-Earth satellites that can provide internet for millions of Amazon customers.
- Its mission is to bridge the digital divide by providing fast, affordable broadband to communities unserved or underserved by traditional communications technologies, according to Amazon.
- The smallest model offers speeds of up to 100 megabits per second. A larger 11-inch-square antenna is capable of 400 megabits per second, and a 19-by-30-inch model can handle 1 gigabit per second, according to Amazon.
Why it’s news
Millions are people around the world do not have access to the internet. Current internet technology requires hardwiring a connection—which is prohibitively costly in many poor countries or in remote locations.
Sending satellites into space allows previously unconnected to access the internet with a wireless signal, thus bypassing the need to hardwire.Space-based broadband services are rapidly becoming the next frontier of innovation for internet service providers.
Other companies are providing such service—such as Astranis and Elon Musk’s Starlink—but Amazon’s enormous research budget, innovative research scientists, and marketing muscle is a significant boost to the industry.
Now, the company is investing $10 billion into its new Project Kuiper, which will supply thousands of satellites into space to provide internet services. The satellites are smaller, faster satellites that will begin testing next year.
The first two satellites have been shipped to Cape Canaveral, Florida, for a possible May send-off to see how the satellites perform in space before beginning commercial testing in 2024.
The satellites are similar to those from Elon Musk’s SpaceX Starlink satellites, which has launched around 4,000 satellites and provide internet for around 1 million customers.
The exact dates of when customers could possibly begin connecting to the devices has not been released, but the company hopes to start testing with customers next year. The prices have not been released either, but the company expects to manufacture the 11-inch-square version for less than $400 apiece.
“Our goal with Project Kuiper is not just to connect unserved and underserved communities, but also to delight them with the quality, reliability, and value of their service,” says Amazon’s vice president of technology for Project Kuiper Rajeev Badyal.
“From day one, every technology and business decision we’ve made has centered on what will deliver the best experience for different customers around the world, and our range of customer terminals reflects those choices.”