Sat. Sep 26th, 2020

Amazon will spend $10 billion to battle Elon Musk for space-based internet

2 min read

Amazon is ready to go toe-to-toe with Elon Musk for control of space itself.

Or, more accurately, the global retailer and distribution giant is eyeing up a space-based internet delivery service similar to what Elon Musk’s SpaceX is attempting with Starlink.

The US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has given Amazon the go-ahead to launch more than 3,000 satellites into low-Earth orbit (LEO).

These satellites will daisy-chain together and beam down a broadband internet connection to users on Earth.

Designated ‘Project Kuiper’, Amazon is prepared to put $10 billion into the scheme to make sure SpaceX doesn’t hold all the cards. And you wouldn’t want to bet heavily against Amazon. The retailer has built up an astonishing logistics and distribution arm, a massive cloud computing provider and owner Jeff Bezos just happens to also own a private rocket company.

‘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, Senior Vice President, 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.’

Kuiper doesn’t yet have a timescale that we’re aware of. But Amazon is opening a brand new research and development facility in Redmond, Washington to focus on it.

‘We are doing an incredible amount of invention to deliver fast, reliable broadband at a price that makes sense for customers,’ said Rajeev Badyal, Vice President of Technology for Project Kuiper.

‘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.

‘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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