With the goal of providing satellite Internet access to rural regions across the planet, Amazon recently asked the FCC for approval to launch over 3,000 broadband satellites. It’s a plan that makes sense for the world’s top online retailer. Just think of all those new potential customers!
News about Amazon’s plans appeared earlier this week in Engadget as well as other tech news sources.
If you currently live in a rural region with no fiber, cable, or DSL Internet service, you know the weakness in current satellite Internet offerings. Slow speeds and data caps make streaming Netflix or other OTT services difficult. So, let’s take a closer look to see if Jeff Bezos’s foray into space is a gamechanger for your broadband access.
The Amazon Kuiper System for Satellite Internet
The July 4th Amazon filing with the FCC provides insight into the plans for their broadband satellite project. Notably, the initiative is called the Kuiper System. Amazon expects to launch the satellites in multiple waves. The 3,236 orbital devices span the planet from 56 degrees north to 56 degrees south. Bezos owns a launch company – Blue Origin – to potentially perform the launches.
Amazon also filed noticed about the Kuiper System with the International Telecommunication Union, responsible for managing frequency spectrum conflicts across the world. The separate filing with the FCC is due to Amazon being licensed in the United States. Ajit Pai’s team is ultimately responsible for authorizing the system as a whole.
SpaceX and Others are Amazon’s Satellite Competition
Amazon’s foray into space isn’t the only satellite broadband effort on the docket. We previously talked about Elon Musk’s plans for space Internet service. Starlink, the SpaceX system, includes around 12,000 satellites.
A Richard Branson-owned company called OneWeb also boasts plans for an up to 2,000 satellite system. Both SpaceX and OneWeb currently have satellites in orbit, but aren’t providing service at this time. SpaceX might begin providing Internet next year, while OneWeb is shooting for 2021.
The FCC Supports Satellite Internet
Ultimately, the FCC expects to approve Amazon’s plans for its Kuiper System. Pai commented on his support for satellite Internet.
“We now have in our sights new competition in the broadband marketplace and new opportunities for rural Americans who lack access to high-speed Internet access. That’s why the FCC under my leadership has moved quickly to give a green light to satellite entrepreneurs like OneWeb, SpaceX, and O3b and is considering other applications from entrants like Amazon and Boeing,” said Pai.
Once Amazon earns FCC approval, the earliest date for the Kuiper System to go online is 2021. So if you currently live in a rural area lacking Internet options, practice patience. Enter your ZIP code or give us a call at 800-990-0017 to see what ISP options are available in your area.