Amazon.com Inc. plans to launch thousands of satellites to provide broadband internet access around the globe.
The effort, dubbed Project Kuiper, aims to give unserved and underserved communities around the world access to high-speed internet, with minimal delay, according to Amazon.
Several other companies have announced similar initiatives. Facebook Inc. was reportedly aiming to launch satellites early this year, while Google plans to build a network of flying balloons. Both companies are looking to reach more people with their services as they near saturation in mature markets.
Elon Musk’s Space Exploration Technologies Corp. and OneWeb Satellites are also racing to expand coverage to about 4 billion people on Earth who lack reliable internet access as the world becomes more interconnected.
Three sets of filings with the International Telecommunications Union, which were first reported by GeekWire, show that the initiative would place 3,236 satellites in low Earth orbit.
“This is a long-term project that envisions serving tens of millions of people who lack basic access to broadband internet. We look forward to partnering on this initiative with companies that share this common vision,” Amazon said in a statement. A spokeswoman declined to comment on the cost.
The ITU coordinates the use of satellites globally and would have to sign off on the plan. If successful, Project Kuiper would provide data coverage across parts of the planet where 95 percent of the world’s population lives, GeekWire reported.
If realized, the initiative would mark Amazon Chief Executive Officer Jeff Bezos’s latest investment in space. Blue Origin LLC, the company he’s funding through the sale of $1 billion a year in Amazon stock, is also working to develop reusable rockets and to make space travel commercially viable.