Amazon, your next Internet provider? Tech giant eyes satellite web

Not content with its online offerings, Amazon is looking to offer internet connectivity using its Kuiper satellite network. — dpa

To shop online with Amazon, use its AWS cloud services and stream videos from Prime Video, you need a decent internet connection. But outside of major cities, even in highly developed countries, there often remain gaps in the network.

Amazon now wants to change that and is planning to reach more customers with its own network of satellites as part of an effort to deliver high-speed internet access around the world with a service taking on Elon Musk's Starlink network.

The online giant has now secured space on several rockets, and contracts with European provider Arianespace and space company Blue Origin, among others, are set to involve up to 83 launches, Amazon announced on Tuesday.

For consumers, this could mean that one Amazon subscription would include internet access at home alongside Prime features such as video and music streaming and faster deliveries.

Amazon's network, named Kuiper, is set to comprise 3,236 satellites. This means Amazon is also competing with the Starlink network of tech billionaire Elon Musk's company SpaceX, among others.

It is the next expansion of the business for the group, which went from being an online retailer to the largest provider of cloud services with its AWS division.

From the point of view of Amazon's Dave Limp, responsible for the company's device division working on this project, it makes perfect sense for Amazon to operate its own satellite network.

Connectivity is the foundation for virtually everything Amazon does, Limp told dpa. Without internet connectivity, a company could not use AWS services, customers could neither stream videos nor shop at Amazon.

When it comes to satellite internet, most people think of Africa - but even in rural parts of the US there are large areas without good online access, Limp noted.

Amazon's goal is to set up the most powerful system for providing internet from low orbits. In any case, he said, it would take more than one provider to solve the problem for everyone.

On the one hand, Amazon wants to offer fast internet access to individual households in a classic subscription model. On the other hand, it also plans to cooperate with mobile phone companies, which could then use the Kuiper infrastructure to supply their customers.

Amazon secured 47 launches with United Launch Alliance launchers and 18 Ariane 6 missions to build the satellite network. There's also an agreement with Blue Origin, a company founded by Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, for 12 launches – with an option for up to 15 more. – dpa

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