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Amazon's Project Kuiper Megaconstellation Aims to Deliver Fast, Affordable Broadband

Amazon's Project Kuiper is an initiative to increase global broadband access through a constellation of 3,236 satellites in low earth orbit (LEO). Their mission is to deliver fast, affordable broadband to unserved and underserved communities around the world.

A post on Amazon explains:

Project Kuiper started off as an internal code name for the program—and it stuck. The name refers to the Kuiper Belt, a region of the solar system that exists beyond the eight major planets. The Kuiper Belt itself is named after the late Dutch astronomer Gerard Kuiper, who is considered by many to be the father of modern planetary science.

Project Kuiper is a long-term initiative. Our FCC license requires that we deploy and operate at least half of our satellite constellation by July 2026. We’re preparing to launch our first two prototype satellites in early 2023, and we expect to provide service to the earliest Project Kuiper customers by the end of 2024.

This marketing video is a good explainer of Project Kuiper:

Recently Amazon shared a post about Project Kuiper’s low-cost customer terminals.

To use the service, customers will install an outdoor antenna—called a customer terminal—to communicate with satellites passing overhead. Traditionally, this equipment has been too large, too complex, and too expensive for many customers, making it difficult for LEO constellations to bridge the digital divide in a meaningful way. 

Project Kuiper plans to serve tens of millions of customers, so we set an ambitious goal at the start of the project: design a customer terminal that costs less than $500 to build. Project Kuiper engineers hit that milestone in 2020, inventing a new antenna architecture that was smaller and lighter than traditional designs. Since then, the team has continued to innovate to make its terminal designs even smaller, more affordable, and more capable.

Amazon recently unveiled the results of that work.

Our ultra-compact model provides speeds of up to 100 megabits per second (Mbps), our standard model delivers up to 400 Mbps, and our largest model, which is intended for enterprise, government, and telecommunications applications, delivers up to 1 gigabit per second (Gbps).

You can read more about terminals here. Let's hope the prototypes are launched successfully and deliver on the promises. This will increase the likelihood of the success of this project. We are certainly looking forward to it.

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