Amazon is seeking regulatory approval from the Indian National Space Promotion and Authorization Center, or IN-SPACe, to launch its Project Kuiper satellite-based broadband services in India, according to The Economic Times.
“Project Kuiper will bring fast, affordable broadband to unserved and underserved communities around the world, including rural and remote places in India,” an Amazon spokesperson confirmed to Cord Cutters News via email.
Satellite-based broadband services are seen as a way to augmented more traditional internet offerings and provide coverage in hard to reach places. There’s a burgeoning space race going on between Jeff Bezos’s Amazon and Blue Origin rocket company and Elon Musk’s SpaceX, which already has a constellation of roughly 5,000 satellites offering Starlink internet services around the world.
Amazon’s plans to bring satellite-based broadband to India would also put the company in competition with providers like OneWeb, Tata Grou’s Nelco, and Jio Satellite.
The e-commerce giant could also apply to the Department of Telecommunications for a global mobile personal communication by satellite services, or GMPCS, license. A GMPCS license allows a company to provide satellite communication services in qualifying areas.
Since the India Space Policy 2023 opened up the space sector to allow low- and medium-earth orbit satellite operators to provide wireless broadband services, more private and foreign companies have expressed interest in the domain.
“This is a long-term initiative for Amazon, and we look forward to working with the Indian government and local partners to connect customers and communities across the country,” Amazon said in the email.
Amazon has big plans for Project Kuiper. It’s expected to provide home internet services as well as connectivity for businesses and hospitals. Last week, Amazon sent its first test satellite into space. The launch will determine whether the company will begin mass producing the satellites for a 2024 launch. Amazon plans to send over 3,000 satellites into low-earth orbit to build out its broadband offerings.
Project Kuiper, like SpaceX’s Starlink service, aims to offer high speed internet from space. This means Amazon’s service could potentially average close to Starlink’s 90.55 Mbps down and 9.33 Mpbs up with a latency of 43. Amazon is reportedly hoping to be a more affordable option at under $100 a month.