We’ve heard a lot about companies making plans for low Earth orbit satellites to bring broadband to a large portion of the world. Amazon is one the companies making those plans. Here is everything we know about Amazon’s Home Internet Service.
Who is Running This?
Amazon is developing their plan under a subsidiary called Kuiper Systems. You’ll see that name a lot when reading about Amazon Home Internet.
Interestingly, Kuiper’s president is Rajeev Badyal, a former SpaceX vice president.
When Did Amazon Start Working on Internet?
Amazon has been looking into options for offering high speed internet for some time, but asked the FCC for permission to start testing a service just this summer
How Much Area Would Be Covered?
“The goal here is broadband everywhere, but the very nature of [having] thousands of satellites in low Earth orbit is very different from geostationary satellites. … You have equal broadband all over the surface of Earth. Not exactly equal, it tends to be a lot more concentrated toward the poles, unfortunately.,” Jeff Bezos said in June.
With low orbit satellites, broadband access could reach areas that have previously been underserved, including rural areas and developing countries.
“But you end up servicing the whole world. So, it’s really good. By definition, you end up accessing people who are ‘under-bandwidthed.’ Very rural areas, remote areas. And I think you can see going forward that internet, access to broadband is going to be very close to being a fundamental human need as we move forward.”
How Many Satellites Will Amazon Have?
Amazon is planning to launch 3,236 satellites for their network.
Why is Low Orbit Important?
Amazon plans to have their satellites at altitudes of at 367 miles, 379 miles, and 391 miles. At these distances, satellites will be able to reach areas about 56 degrees North to 56 degrees South. Amazon has said this will cover about 95% of the world’s population.
Here’s how The Next Web describes how it works.
LEO satellites orbit extremely close to Earth, between 99 to 1200 miles (160-19,300 km) — versus 22,000 miles (35,400 km) of traditional GEO satellites — which means less time to transfer information (lower latency) and a quality of service comparable to wired cable and fiber broadband providers. The arrays will be precisely mapped into massive constellations to maximize coverage.
How Much Will It Cost?
We’re too early in the process to know how much customers will pay for Amazon Home Internet, or service from other low Earth orbit satellites. However, with several players in the game, there will be more providers and more competition, which will bring costs down.
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