The deadline for Amazon to have an operational home internet service is coming up fast. Well, it may be a few years away there is a lot to do to meet the FCC deadline or risk losing the spectrum it needs.
This new home internet service from Amazon is currently code-named Project Kuiper. According to Amazon’s CEO, it is now one of the main focuses of the company.
Here is what Amazon’s CEO said in the letter to shareholders:
Kuiper is another example of Amazon innovating for customers over the long term in an area where there’s high customer need. Our vision for Kuiper is to create a low-Earth orbit satellite system to deliver high-quality broadband internet service to places around the world that don’t currently have it. There are hundreds of millions of households and businesses who don’t have reliable access to the internet. Imagine what they’ll be able to do with reliable connectivity, from people taking online education courses, using financial services, starting their own businesses, doing their shopping, enjoying entertainment, to businesses and governments improving their coverage, efficiency, and operations. Kuiper will deliver not only accessibility, but affordability. Our teams have developed low-cost antennas (i.e. customer terminals) that will lower the barriers to access. We recently unveiled the new terminals that will communicate with the satellites passing overhead, and we expect to be able to produce our standard residential version for less than $400 each. They’re small: 11 inches square, 1 inch thick, and weigh less than 5 pounds without their mounting bracket, but they deliver speeds up to 400 megabits per second. And they’re powered by Amazon-designed baseband chips. We’re preparing to launch two prototype satellites to test the entire end-to-end communications network this year, and plan to be in beta with commercial customers in 2024. The customer reaction to what we’ve shared thus far about Kuiper has been very positive, and we believe Kuiper represents a very large potential opportunity for Amazon. It also shares several similarities to AWS in that it’s capital intensive at the start, but has a large prospective consumer, enterprise, and government customer base, significant revenue and operating profit potential, and relatively few companies with the technical and inventive aptitude, as well as the investment hypothesis to go after it.
So today, we will break down everything we learned about this new service and what we already knew.
Here is everything we know about Amazon’s new home internet service:
Where is it today?
In October of 2022, Amazon announced their Project Kuiper would launch more than 3,000 satellites into low-earth orbit to offer this home internet service. To do this, Amazon has announced plans to build the required satellites in Kirkland, Washington.
Amazon has also secured a deal with ULA, Arianespace, and Blue Origin to launch these satellites into space starting in early 2023. With this deal, Amazon hopes to launch multiple prototypes into space to test the system before mass production starts.
Amazon is facing a deadline as the FCC has given it until mid-2026 to have 1,600 satellites in space or face losing its FCC approval for the project.
Will this be like older satellite internet services?
These satellites will offer far better home internet compared to older satellite home internet service. With faster speeds and lower latency, Amazon is hoping to become a major player in the world of home internet at a time when home internet is becoming more critical than ever.
Here is how Amazon describes these low Earth orbit satellites.
LEO is an area of space that extends up to 2,000 kilometers (about 1,243 miles) above Earth. Project Kuiper satellites will orbit between 590 and 630 kilometers (about 367 and 392 miles). Our satellites’ proximity to the surface of the Earth means they can deliver fast service to customers, making Project Kuiper connectivity effective for uses like video calls, gaming, and high-definition streaming.
What speeds should you expect?
Here are the three internet speed options Amazon Home Internet will offer:
Standard This standard version will come with an 11″ square antenna that will offer speeds up to 400 Mbps down. This will be perfect for homes.
Pro Version If you need a lot of speed, Amazon has an 11″ by 30″ pro antenna that can offer speeds up to 1 Gbps. This will be perfect for companies or large households.
Portable Version Now if speed is not that important to you, but you want something you can easily travel with, you may want Amazon’s ultra-portable version that is just 7″ square and offers speeds up to 100 Mbps.
What price should you expect?
Reports are that Amazon is hoping to undersell Starlink. So look for a price at or below $100 a month. That may not sound cheap to some, but if you live in a rural area high speed internet for under $100 is a great deal.
Here is what Amazon said about the pricing of its new Internet service.
Amazon hasn’t announced pricing details yet, but affordability is a key principle of Project Kuiper. Amazon has a longstanding commitment to low prices, and lots of experience building popular, low-cost devices like Echo Dot and Fire TV Stick. We’re applying a similar approach with Project Kuiper. We also know customer needs will vary quite a bit around the world, and our service offerings may vary from country to country with the right pricing and service for customers in each region.
This could be huge news for cord cutters if Amazon is able to follow through on their plans. Studies have shown that as more options for home internet come, online pricing has come down, and data caps have gone away. For now, though, we have to wait as we are likely still years away from these networks becoming fully built out.