Amazon takes on Tesla; to invest $10 billion in satellite broadband plan

Amazon said it would begin to offer broadband service once 578 satellites are launched

Amazon's Kuiper constellation gets FCC approval

E-commerce company Amazon has come close to launching its satellite.

In comparison to Amazon's plan, SpaceX is working on blanketing the earth with almost 12,000 LEO satellites by 2027. "We are doing an incredible amount of invention to deliver fast, reliable broadband at a price that makes sense for customers", Rajeev Badyal, VP of technology for Project Kuiper, said in a statement.

For its part, Amazon plans to start offering initial broadband services to customers once at least 578 Project Kuiper satellites are in orbit.

Project Kuiper aims to deliver satellite-based broadband services in the United States, and eventually around the world, and may offer connectively for wireless carriers and 5G networks.

The FCC granted approval after a 5-0 vote in favour. This would allow targeted coverage between 56° north and 56° latitude ranges; a swathe of sky which covers the vast majority of the populated world.

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.

The FCC noted "the design of Kuiper's satellites is not completed". They will compete directly with Elon Musk's Starlink satellites.

It's similar to the ambitions of SpaceX with its Starlink service and OneWeb, which is undergoing bankruptcy restructuring. Sign-up now and enjoy one (1) week free access! However, Spacelink still will continue to have a larger fleet of satellites.

However, it is not just visible light observations that are affected.

While Kuiper does not intend to transmit in bands allocated for radio astronomy or immediately adjacent bands, the FCC has suggested that Amazon look into any potential overlap of use.

The US communications regulator said that it had addressed but dismissed concerns expressed by SES Americom and O3b (collectively SES), and another petition by Telesat Canada (Telesat), and the petitions to deny filed by Theia Holdings and WorldVu Satellites Limited. "We conclude that [the] grant of Kuiper's application would advance the public interest by authorizing a system created to increase the availability of high-speed broadband service to consumers, government, and businesses", according to the agency's 24-page document of consent. Its New Glenn orbital rocket is slated for a first launch in 2021.

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