Amazon is getting into the satellite internet business. The company confirmed that it was launching over 3,000 satellites through “Project Kuiper” to provide wifi worldwide. News of the project was first reported by GeekWire.
The project is similar to one already underway from Space X which provides low-latency, high-speed broadband via a constellation of low orbit satellites. AirBus-backed OneWeb also has its own satellite backed service.
Amazon says that it wants to serve the thousands of people worldwide that lack affordable high-speed service. According to plans filed with the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) Amazon wants its satellites to cover 95 percent of the world’s population. The initial filings did not include details about timeline or pricing.
As with other low orbit satellite projects, Amazon will have to get approval with various telecommunications authorities and provide a timeline for how frequently its satellites will be deployed and when they will be taken out of service to avoid space debris.
Low-earth orbiting satellites have emerged as a new way of providing wifi throughout the world while overcoming issues like challenging geographies, conflicting rights of way, or low population areas. By orbiting closer to earth these services promise that they will be able to provide a higher level of service than earlier versions of satellite wifi which orbited farther away which led to much lower service speeds.