Amazon is seeking approval from the FCC to launch 3,236 satellites into low Earth orbit in order to provide nationwide broadband coverage.
The initiative which is called “Project Kuiper” was brought to light after Amazons subsidy company Kuiper Systems LLC filed documents with the FCC requesting approval to provide coverage to the whole of America, excluding the majority of Alaska, as the high latitude of the area, puts it out of the coverage range.
Kuiper will have the ability to cover the majority of the world but will focus primarily on “unserved and underserved” areas of the globe. The plans are not only limited to business and home connections but include mobile access according to the filings, the network will be available to mobile carriers as well, hinting of the possibility that small rural network providers could purchase Amazon bandwidth and better their service to poorly connected areas.
Although the company is yet to release a timeline on Kuiper, FCC guidelines require 50% of the satellites to be launched within six years of its approval and the further 50% to launch within nine.
Amazon is yet to release details on how its internet will be retailed, it is still to confirm whether it will be available for wholesale only or if they will take a direct-to-consumer and wholesale approach.
According to the application filed with the FCC, “Amazon’s mission is to be Earth’s most customer-centric company, and the Kuiper System is one of our ambitious projects to fulfill this mission. The Kuiper System will deliver satellite broadband communications services to tens of millions of unserved and underserved consumers and businesses in the United States and around the globe.”