Last week, Amazon subsidiary Kuiper Systems, filed an application with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to launch more than 3,000 satellites into orbit. The e-commerce giant wants to establish a constellation network to become a global broadband internet service provider. Though the firm’s motivations are profit-based, its new initiative might provide rural-based Americans with high-speed home and mobile online service for the first time.
Amazon’s ISP Ambitions
Kuiper Systems’ FCC application noted that the firm wants to launch 3,236 low orbit broadband satellites. Once established, the company says that its high-speed network will be available to the entire continental United States, U.S. territories, and Hawaii. If the corporation’s initiative is approved, it has the potential to close America’s high-speed internet coverage gap.
According to a recent FCC report, 92.3 percent of the U.S. population has access to fixed 25 Mbps internet service. However, the agency notes that 24 million Americans still don’t have access to broadband internet service. As Kuiper System’s network would utilize the low-orbit satellites to provide service access, it wouldn’t run into the logistics problems that doomed Google’s Fiber project.
Sadly, Alaska’s high latitude means that its citizens would not be able to take advantage of Amazon’s satellite internet service. Nevertheless, if it succeeds in giving rural Americans high-speed data access, the feat will be one of Amazon’s greatest achievements.
Notably, Kuiper Systems’ filings suggest that Amazon isn’t planning on entering the internet service provider market. Instead, the firm’s paperwork suggests that it intends to provide backhaul service to existing providers. However, the corporation indicated that it plans to build terminals that will supply businesses and residences with Ethernet connectivity.
It’s worth noting that Amazon’s global internet service might be available sooner rather than later. The FCC mandates that firms wishing to establish constellation networks need to launch 50 percent of the satellites within six years. Moreover, the agency requires that corporations orbit all of their celestial objects within nine years.
Amazon the Wireless Carrier
Additionally, Amazon said that its satellite broadband network would allow it to offer bandwidth to regional carriers. As such, the new celestial system would give rural Americans access to higher quality voice and data service than what is currently available. However, the e-commerce corporation may decide to sell mobile phone service to consumers directly.
Last month, Amazon reportedly expressed interest in buying Boost Mobile from Sprint. The FCC told the telecommunications giant that it would only approve its merger with T-Mobile if it spins off its subsidiary. Furthermore, the U.S. Department of Justice said that the two corporations need to establish a new national wireless carrier pre-merger to keep the sector competitive.
With its vast resources and unparalleled brand awareness, Amazon could quickly become America’s fourth-largest mobility company. Furthermore, Boost’s network infrastructure and 9 million U.S. subscribers would help the corporation expedite the development of its mobility business. Also, if the Seattle-based company can offer the best rural phone service in America, it would have a significant market advantage over its competitors.