Verizon, Amazon to Bring Broadband Internet to Rural America
Verizon Taps Amazon for Broadband Satellites
Verizon Communications (VZ) is teaming up with Amazon (AMZN) to bring broadband internet access to rural areas across America. The nation’s largest wireless carrier plans to use Amazon’s network of satellites to serve these hard-to-reach communities.
Verizon is relying on Amazon’s Project Kuiper, a network of over 3,200 satellites, which will beam high-speed internet anywhere in the world. Amazon hasn’t launched any of its Kuiper satellites yet, but the company got the green light from the FCC last year to do so. Amazon has said it will invest over $10 billion in Kuiper. Verizon plans to use Kuiper as an extension of its earth-based service with Kuiper extending the reach of Verizon’s 4G and 5G data networks.
Kuiper Faces Competition
Teams from Verizon and Amazon have already started collaborating to determine the technical requirements necessary to achieve their goals. By extending Verizon’s network with Kuiper, the companies aim to bring “joint connectivity solutions” to a variety of industries including agriculture, energy, manufacturing, and transportation.
Amazon’s Kuiper project is up against fierce competition in the satellite industry. SpaceX, owned by Tesla (TSLA) founder Elon Musk, has already launched 1,740 satellites to support its Starlink Network. Over 100,000 people in 14 countries are participating in a beta test of SpaceX’s internet service, paying $99 per month. UK satellite company OneWeb is in the process of launching 648 satellites into low orbit. OneWeb is teaming up with AT&T (T) in the US.
Blue Origin Is Building a Space Station
Satellites are not the only thing Amazon is aiming to send to space. Blue Origin, the space company owned by Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, wants to build a commercial space station. Blue Origin is teaming up with Boeing (BA) and others to build a space station which will be operational toward the second half of the decade. Dubbed Orbital Reef, Blue Origin plans to make money from government agencies and private-sector businesses who send people to space.
The push to build space stations from Blue Origin comes as NASA moves its focus away from the International Space Station, passing the torch to private companies. Companies are clamoring to get ahead in the private sector space race. The partnership with Verizon is a win for Blue Origin.
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