Amazon announces Project Kuiper, a new player in the satellite communications market that will compete with Starlink
Residents of large cities are unlikely to have significant problems with communication and the Internet, but for those people who are located a little further from megacities, the question of considerable restrictions in access to the Internet often arises. Now satellite communication like Starlink comes to the rescue of such users. Amazon has not stood aside and is also preparing to launch its own version of such technology — Project Kuiper.
The company is currently preparing three variants of Project Kuiper devices. The smallest of them will offer a 7-inch “square” weighing just over 450 grams. This solution is designed for private users and will provide an access speed of up to 100 Mbit/s. The “plate” is mobile, so it can travel with the owner if necessary.
The larger 11-inch terminal with a weight of 2.3 kg (not including mounting), despite its small size, the company calls one of the most powerful commercial solutions available. This will be able to demonstrate a speed of up to 400 Mbit/s. But this is not the most powerful solution in the line.
The largest of Project Kuiper is a 48×76 cm rectangle, which is intended for use by businesses, government, and telecommunications companies. With such a terminal, you can count on a speed of up to 1 Gbit/s.
“Our goal with Project Kuiper is not just to connect unserved and underserved communities, but also to delight them with the quality, reliability, and value of their service. From day one, every technology and business decision we’ve made has centered on what will deliver the best experience for different customers around the world, and our range of customer terminals reflects those choices,” said Rajeev Badyal, Amazon’s vice president of technology for Project Kuiper.
The company worked on Project Kuiper technologies independently, the code name of its own chip is Prometheus. The goal of the entire project was to create small and simple terminals that average users could afford. The task of creating a terminal worth up to $500 was achieved by the company back in 2020. An average model now costs less than $400 to make.
The first prototype satellites are to be launched on a Vulcan Centaur rocket from United Launch Alliance. In parallel with the tests, Project Kuiper is already being prepared for commercial launch. Production should begin this year at a plant in Kirkland, Washington. The launch of serial satellites is expected to begin in the first half of 2024, and by the end of it, the provision of services to the first customers will begin.
Unfortunately, the company has not yet disclosed the approximate prices of the terminals and the cost of their maintenance.