FCC greenlights Amazon’s $10bn satellite project

With all five votes in favour of Amazon’s low-earth orbit satellite project, the firm has now got the relevant approvals to deliver satellite-based broadband services in the US.

Access to broadband in the US has been a challenge for a considerable period of time, explaining the billions in federal funds which the FCC makes available for rural broadband expansion, though the presence of a satellite broadband network could certainly add an interesting dynamic to competition.

“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 of 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.”

With 3,236 satellites to be deployed over the next few years, the offering could certainly gain traction in the forgotten areas of the US. What remains to be seen is how effectively Amazon commercialise this network, though there are plenty of opportunities to bundle services together with the Prime delivery and video offerings.

The service will be commercially available once the first 578 satellites are launched, making use of the 17.7-18.6 GHz (space-to-Earth), 18.8-20.2 GHz (space-to-Earth), and 27.5-30.0 GHz (Earth-to-space spectrum bands. The full constellation will be launched through five phases.

“LEO-based broadband systems like Project Kuiper present a huge number of challenges, and we have assembled a world-class team of engineers and scientists who are committed to delivering on our vision for Project Kuiper and keeping space a safe, sustainable environment for everyone,” said Rajeev Badyal, Vice President of Technology for Project Kuiper.

“Combine that with Amazon’s deep expertise in networking and infrastructure and its ability to finance such a huge undertaking, and I am optimistic about the impact we can have for these unserved and underserved communities.”

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  1. Avatar David J. wright 04/08/2020 @ 8:34 am

    Satellite, including LEO, have basic Latency issues, in a modern world of 5G and beyond. Inter satellite Comms using lasers, was considered back in 80’s Star Wars days. Getting to sub 2 milliseconds latency, for ‘likely’ modern user devices, like wearable computing will NOT be viable.

  2. Avatar Abnn 05/08/2020 @ 3:55 pm

    Jeff Bezos is a good copycay with FOMO

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