Amazon wants to compete with Elon Musk’s SpaceX in offering a global bandwidth network from low orbit Earth. The Jeff Bezos headed company has been working on a project Kuiper under which it aims to provide access to the internet to millions of people living in remote locations.
The company has sought permission from the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to launch 3,236 communications satellites. The FCC is responsible for coordinating trajectories and radio-frequency use.
Amazon revealed its project Kuiper in April, where it confirmed that the project involves launching 3,236 satellites on 98 orbital planes. The satellites will be deployed at an altitude range of between 366 and 391 miles.
In low-Earth orbit, satellites need to revolve around the Earth swiftly to stay aloft. As one satellite reaches the horizon, it relays signals to the next satellite and thus a large number of satellites are needed to establish a global network.
In its FCC filings, Amazon has said that the project will help U.S. communities “by offering fixed broadband communications services to rural and hard-to-reach areas.”
The filing also says that in addition to providing broadband services to rural and hard-to-reach areas, it will also offer “high-throughput mobile broadband connectivity services for aircraft, maritime vessels, and land vehicles.”
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Amazon isn’t the first company to deploy such a network in space. In May, Elon Musk’s company SpaceX sent 60 Starlink satellites and companies like Telesat, LeoSat Technologies and OneWeb are also planning to offer broadband connections by deploying satellites in low Earth orbit.