Life without the internet is now almost unimaginable. But although 99 percent of millennial Britons are now online, some around the world still lack the luxury. Amazon’s ambitious Project Kuiper aims to revolutionise internet access by blasting thousands of internet-providing satellites into space.
The latest filings from online technology giant Amazon has revealed its ambition to blast thousands of broadband internet-providing satellites into orbit.
Our vision is to provide low-latency, high-speed broadband connectivity
Amazon has finally unveiled more details about its hitherto mysterious plan, dubbed Project Kuiper, via patents published with the International Telecommunications Union.
Amazon’s aim is to provide high-speed internet access to unserved and underserved areas around the world.
Project Kuiper will involve launching 3,236 satellites into low-orbit around the Earth, with the intention of servicing about 95 percent of the world’s population, potentially giving a monopolising Amazon as a global internet Service Provider (ISP).
Amazon said in a statement: “At Amazon, our energy comes from innovating on behalf of our customers.
“There are billions of people around the world who lack access to broadband internet.
“Our vision is to provide low-latency, high-speed broadband connectivity to many of these unserved and underserved communities around the world.
“This is a long-term project that envisions serving tens of millions of people who lack basic access to broadband internet.
However, Amazon is facing stiff competition in its quest to become an ISP player.
SpaceX, owned by Tesla CEO Elon Musk, has announced ambitions to blast as many as 12,000 satellites into low-Earth orbit.
Starlink, as Musk’s project is called, will begin launching satellites this year and according to the company will come online once 800 satellites are operationally orbiting.
Among the advantages of broadband internet derived from low-earth orbiting satellites are the costs — currently one satellite can be made for $1 million — as well as its ability to deliver loads of information faster than traditional wired networks.
Experts estimate such satellites will be able to deliver up to 500 MBPS to users.
Current average download speeds in the US average around 92 MBPS.
Amazon has not yet provided a timeline for when it plans to begin launching its satellites, only offering “it will take years to roll out.”
For now, it will continue to seek the necessary regulatory approval from agencies around the world.
Next up for Project Kuiper in the US will be a green light from the Federal Communications Commission (FCC).
Regulators will be tasked with balancing a rush to launch satellites into low-Earth orbit safely, without contributing to a growing orbit of space junk that threatens human exploration of space and more.
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