Amazon wins FCC approval for Kuiper internet constellation

Amazon closer to launching satellites upping internet reach

Amazon's Kuiper constellation gets FCC approval

Amazon didn't say when it expects to have Project Kuiper operating, but the Federal Communications Commission, which approved the initiative on Thursday, said half of its satellites must be in orbit by July 2026.

First announced a year ago, Kuiper is Amazon's long-term initiative to establish a constellation of 3,236 satellites in orbit and use them to beam high-speed, low-latency, and affordable internet down to households, schools, hospitals, businesses on Earth.

"This investment will create jobs and infrastructure around the United States, build and scale our ground network, accelerate satellite testing and manufacturing, and let us deliver an affordable customer terminal that will make fast, reliable broadband accessible to communities around the world", Amazon said.

It was originally announced in the first half of 2019 and, due to similarities with SpaceX's Starlink, it made Elon Musk call Jeff Bezos a "copycat" on Twitter.

That Amazon has set aside more than $10 billion for the project suggests executives are looking to complete the constellation sooner rather than later. In addition, the company must commit to taking the equipment out of orbit after the end the project, so as not to contribute to the high amount of space waste in the region. It can also become a new business for Amazon to sell Internet services to people and companies.

Amazon said the satellites could provide internet to parts of the world that don't have it.

Meanwhile, SpaceX received FCC approval two years ago to launch thousands of satellites. The satellites will be designed and tested at a new research and development facility opening in Redmond, Washington. "It contended from the arrangement authorization which Kuiper" would advance the public interest from authorizing a system created to boost the access to high-speed broadband support to customers, government, and companies".

Kuiper will be competing with SpaceX's Starlink system.

In comparison to Amazon's plan, SpaceX is working on blanketing the earth with almost 12,000 LEO satellites by 2027.

Amazon should see the same access and capture of the telecommunications market, which has led to tense regulatory battles with SpaceX and other companies - even leading to Musk calling Bezos a copycat.

The FCC approval includes requirements for minimizing orbital debris and collision risk, prevention of harmful interference, spectrum sharing, and power limits.

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