Amazon’s Kuiper project has not launched a satellite yet, but in a video released this week, it talks about what its broadband Internet constellation will be able to do for rural connectivity.
This video focuses on the unmet broadband needs of the town of cleelum (pop. 2037) in the Cascade Mountains in central Washington.
Audrey Malek, founding partner of Basecamp outfitters, said in the camera: “many people move to this area because it is beautiful, but people are reluctant to start small businesses due to the lack of reliable internet.”.
Mimi Aung, senior manager of Kuiper project, said that the solution is 3236 satellite constellation, and her team plans to start testing in orbit as early as next year.
“Even in our backyard, just outside Redmond, there are some areas where there is no Internet connection, or the connection is very poor, and we can have a huge impact immediately,” Aung said. She came to Amazon from NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, where she led the dexterous helicopter project team on Mars.
Tyson lamoreaux, vice president of network and infrastructure of Kuiper project, stressed the potential to expand the coverage of existing telecommunications infrastructure.
“Existing broadband providers and mobile phone providers can use Kuiper to install mobile towers in a place that is currently in a dead zone, and now they may have no other choice,” he said. “We can narrow the gap in mobile services around the world.”
This video gives us a glimpse of the Kuiper project headquarters in Redmond, Washington., There are also a few tips on what its broadband service will provide sometime in the next few years.
“Affordability is one of our jobs,” said Rajeev badyal, vice president of Kuiper project technology. “It’s very important for us to keep costs low, because if we don’t, it’s difficult to connect unserviced and underserved satellites to our services. Therefore, we accepted the challenge to design our satellites at two orders of magnitude.”
However, the satellite itself has a panoramic view. “We are designing solar panels and we are designing reaction wheels,” badiar said.
More than a year ago, Amazon obtained conditional approval from the Federal Communications Commission to send its first wave of satellites into low earth orbit and announced that it would spend more than $10 billion on the project. However, Amazon is still working with the FCC on details, including plans to minimize orbital debris and share spectrum with SpaceX’s Starlink network and oneweb satellite constellation.
Most of the videos released this week focus on the current obstacles faced by residents in kleelum and its surrounding areas, in a world where broadband Internet access has become almost essential. However, the video does not mention that Starlink has been limited in the community from Redmond (the manufacturing site of SpaceX satellite) to cle Elum.