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Amazon is investing $ 10 billion to compete against SpaceX satellite broadband



Illustration of the Earth with lines connecting cities to represent a global network.

Getty Images | Yuichiro Chino

Amazon has received U.S. approval to launch 3,236 satellites orbiting the Low Earth for its planned “Project Kuiper” broadband service.

On Thursday, an order from the Federal Communications Commission was issued granting Amazon̵

7;s application. Amazon said in a blog post that it will invest more than $ 10 billion in the project.

“This investment will create jobs and infrastructure around the United States, build and scale our terrestrial network, accelerate satellite testing and manufacturing, and deliver an affordable customer terminal that will make reliable and fast broadband accessible to communities around the world, “Amazon wrote. dit. Amazon will target areas without good internet service and said “the Kuiper project will deliver a high-speed, low-latency broadband service to locations out of reach of fiber or fiber networks. traditional traditional “.

The planned satellites would orbit at altitudes of 590 km, 610 km and 630 km, allowing much lower latencies than traditional satellite services using geosynchronous orbits of more than 35,000 km. It’s similar to SpaceX’s Starlink, but SpaceX goes much further, as it has launched about 600 satellites and is preparing to start beta testing with customers.

Service to start once 578 satellites are launched

FCC rules provide Amazon with six years to launch and operate 50 percent of its licensed satellites, with a deadline of July 30, 2026. Amazon is expected to launch the remaining licensed satellites by July 30, 2026. July 2029.

Amazon plans to offer broadband to customers “once the first 578 satellites are launched,” the FCC said. Amazon has not said when the service will be available to customers.

FCC approval said Amazon plan “would provoke”[e] continuous coverage for customers located at approximately 56 ° N and 56 ° S latitude, serving the contiguous United States, Hawaii, U.S. territories, and other regions of the world. “The plan envisages using frequencies of 17.7-18.6 GHz and 18.8-20.2 GHz for space-to-ground communications and 27.5-30.0 GHz for ground-to-space transmissions. The FCC said it granted the license because it would “advance the public interest by authorizing a system designed to increase the availability of high-speed broadband service.” to consumers, government and business “.

Amazon filed the FCC application in July 2019 – more information about Amazon’s plan can be found in our app history.

FCC approval includes requirements to minimize orbital debris and collision risk, prevent harmful interference, spectrum exchange, and power limits. Amazon’s design of the Kuiper satellites is incomplete, so the company will need further FCC approval after it presents a final plan to mitigate orbital debris, collision risk and “re-entry risk.” . FCC approval is also conditional on Amazon obtaining a “favorable” rating from the International Telecommunication Union to demonstrate compliance with the power limits.

In addition to SpaceX, Amazon’s Kuiper project could face competition from OneWeb’s Lowland Satellite competition, which filed for bankruptcy in late March. On July 3, OneWeb agreed to sell the business to a consortium including the UK government and Bharti Global Limited. The UK government, which is investing $ 500 million, said: “The agreement will allow the company to complete the construction of a global satellite constellation that will provide enhanced broadband services and other services to in countries of the world “. OneWeb also has an investment from Hughes, which operates geosynchronous satellites.


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