Amazon to Invest $10 Billion in Space-Based Internet System

Joanna Estrada
August 1, 2020

Elon Musk-led Space Exploration Company, or SpaceX, has already launched 500 satellites out of the 12,000 potentially needed to run a similar service, according to Reuters.

The 3,236 satellites would have the ability to serve about 95 percent of the world's population and successfully position Amazon as a global ISP provider.

A further announcement from Amazon released on Thursday stated the company's intentions to invest "more than $10 billion" to provide "reliable, affordable broadband service to unserved and underserved communities around the world".

Amazon said the billion dollar investment will create more jobs in the U.S., along with providing high-speed broadband internet access to unserved and underserved areas around the globe.

Amazon has yet to reveal a set plan on when and how it will begin the construction of its satellite constellation, but the FCC said it has until July 2026 to launch 50 percent of its devices and until July 2029 for the other half. "There are still too many places where broadband access is unreliable or where it doesn't exist at all". The company said it anticipates launching Kuiper satellites in five waves and starting service once the first, comprised of 578 satellites, is in orbit.

FCC Chairman Ajit Pai indicated earlier this month he would support approving Kuiper, saying in a July 10 tweet that he shared a proposal with FCC staff to advance the constellation's authorization. It argued in the order authorisation that Kuiper "would advance the public interest by authorising a system created to increase the availability of high-speed broadband service to consumers, government, and businesses".

The SpaceX satellites are also likely to cost around $10 billion, according to the company's president, Gwynne Shotwell.

Amazon shares closed 0.6% higher at $3,051.88 on Thursday and gained 5% in the after-hours session to $3,204.60.

The FCC grants permission for public and private entities to use sections of the wireless spectrum, assigning permission to use frequencies for specific functions - for Starlink, OneWeb, Kuiper, and other planned providers who plan to provide web data to and from space to blanket the USA and other areas of the world in low-lag, high-speed broadband. SpaceX received government approval for the project in 2018.

The firm estimates it will need at least 800 satellites to offer a full service, but will have 600 in orbit later this year providing broadband to selected areas.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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