Amazon’s Internet-From-Space Kuiper Approved By FCC


Amazon has secured approval for its ambitious Kuiper constellation from the Federal Communications Commission. The plan will see the company launch 3,236 satellites into space to offer internet connecting on earth. Amazon will launch its satellites at three different altitudes adding that it will only need 578 satellites offer the service. The Kuiper project will cost more than $10 billion.

Amazon will source a launch company for its satellites

If successful, Amazon’s Kuiper will compete with Starlink, which launched its SpaceX and has between 12,000 to 42,000 satellites. The decision to allow Amazon to proceed with its program was unanimously voted in by five commissioners from FCC. Amazon is yet to announce when they will be able to launch the satellites into space. Although Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos owns another rocket company called Blue Origin, the launch will be conducted by a company source through a competitive bidding process.

There are a few requirements that Amazon will have to observe to maintain its license. First, the company will have to launch half of its satellites by 2026. The remaining half is to be launched by 2029.  Since the final plan for its satellites is not approved yet, it will have a plan on how it will deal with debris.  Although the commission said Amazon has yet to present specific information on its debris plan, it has indicated that it will be able to take satellites out of the orbit within 355 days. Large constellations of satellites in space cause collisions that create pieces of debris that may be a threat to other satellites.

A heated competition to dominate space-based internet

While commenting on SpaceX in 2019, Elon Musk said his company is attempting to claim only 1-3% of the trillion-dollar global telecommunication industry. He also added that the company projects revenues between $30 billion and $50 billion per year.

The entry of Amazon into the Satellite industry is likely to spark heated competition after the company initially went through regulatory hurdles with SpaceX and other companies. Amazon is banking on its satellites to boost internet for its growing and lucrative digital entertainment divisions.

Neha Gupta
Neha Gupta
Neha Gupta has cleared CFA Level 2 from CFA Institute (USA). She has worked in diverse capacities from financial research to currency trading in a span of 10 years. Neha also covers technology, finance, retail, automotive, energy and other sectors news.