Amazon is gearing up to provide broadband access to the world by relying on satellites orbiting in space.
According to a report in GeekWire citing three sets of filings made to the International Telecommunications Union in March, Amazon’s initiative – code-named Project Kuiper – will cost billions of dollars, but will generate billions of dollars if the technology is deployed commercially.
In the filings, Amazon describes a plan to send 3,236 satellites into low Earth orbit to provide broadband internet access. The company said the satellites would be able to provide coverage for close to 95 percent of the population. This would have a huge impact, as there are nearly four billion people around the world who don’t have reliable internet access.
“Project Kuiper is a new initiative to launch a constellation of low Earth orbit satellites that will provide low-latency, high-speed broadband connectivity to unserved and underserved communities around the world,” an Amazon spokesperson said in an emailed statement to GeekWire. “This is a long-term project that envisions serving tens of millions of people who lack basic access to broadband internet. We look forward to partnering on this initiative with companies that share this common vision.”
Amazon would not say how long it will be before the satellites are deployed or when internet service would occur. The eCommerce giant also wouldn’t disclose how much it would charge for the service.
Following the filings with the International Telecommunications Union, Amazon’s next step is to submit its filings to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and other regulators. In order to get regulatory approval, Amazon will have to show that its satellites will not interfere with others expected to orbit in low Earth. It will also need a plan to dispose of the satellites without adding debris to space.