The race to develop satellite internet It includes some pretty big players like SpaceX, Softbank, and Facebook. And even though Mark Zuckerberg’s company got out of this business, a new actor came in: Amazon, when not.
The company founded by Jeff Bezos bought a satellite network from Facebook to develop Project Kuiper, a system that can compete with Starlink, the satellite internet service of SpaceX, Elon Musk’s aerospace company.
Like Starlink, Project Kuiper is designed to provide high-speed, low-latency broadband connectivity to users around the world. Amazon aims to have a constellation of 3,236 satellites in orbit by 2029, with half launched by 2026. It also plans to build 12 ground stations around the world to transmit data to and from satellites.
The company said that will invest more than 10 billion dollars to carry out the project and recently received FAA approval. It also announced last year that it would use United Launch Alliance’s ultra-reliable Atlas V rocket for initial satellite launches.
Amazon significantly increased recruiting efforts for Project Kuiper at its Redmond headquarters, with 500 current employees and 200 vacant positions. Employees hailing from Facebook are reportedly based in the Los Angeles area and include physicists, as well as optical, prototyping, mechanical and software engineers.
The project is serious enough, as far as it can be seen. Facebook’s former Southern California head of connectivity Jin Bains is now listed as Project Kuiper director on his LinkedIn page.
Meanwhile, it appears Facebook is exiting the satellite internet business and focusing on terrestrial programs, having invested in submarine and overland fiber, as well as wireless services such as ExpressWiFi.
The company recently launched a satellite “Athena“through its subsidiary PointView Tech, but it was just a test mission and not the beginning of a satellite Internet constellation. With the sale of its satellite equipment to Amazon, it seems that any ambitions that may have had in that area.
Musk’s huge investment
Elon Musk continues to invest in Starlink. AP Photo
Elon Musk announced late last month that SpaceX’s investment in satellite internet will be up to $ 30 billion in the long term. in your Starlink project.
The space exploration company SpaceX is developing its satellite internet service, which aims to foster a connection high-speed in remote areas of the planet regardless of terrestrial infrastructures.
The company has already deployed more than 1,500 satellites and has, in a dozen countries, more than 69,000 active users of your internet connection service. A figure that could exceed 500,000 users “in twelve months,” said Musk.
“From the month of August, we should have connectivity throughout the planet, with the exception of the poles. We are really targeting very sparsely inhabited regions, “explained the South African-born businessman in a telematic intervention at the world mobile phone show (MWC) held in Barcelona.
Regarding finances, he explained that “before having a positive treasury, you will probably have to invest at least $ 5 billion, maybe $ 10 billion. “
“And even when the treasury is beneficial, we will continue to invest so as not to be left behind in innovations,” he had said.
The investments are immense but Musk seems to be leading them: it could reach “between 20,000 and 30,000 million dollars“, against the 10 billion dollars of the Bezos Kuiper Project.