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Alexa’s internet connection could soon come from…Amazon?
According to filings with the International Telecommunications Union, first spotted by GeekWire, the company lays out plans for putting 3,236 satellites in low Earth orbit with the goal of providing internet around the world.
In a statement, the company confirmed the plans, dubbed Project Kuiper, to USA TODAY.
“Project Kuiper is a new initiative to launch a constellation of Low Earth Orbit satellites that will provide low-latency, high-speed broadband connectivity to unserved and underserved communities around the world,” the company said.
“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.”
The Kuiper name seems to be after Gerard Kuiper, a Dutch-born astronomer who in 1951 suggested that some comets originate from a region outside Neptune, an area now known as the Kuiper Belt.
Amazon would not be the first major company to explore space internet. SpaceX detailed its plans in 2016 for a satellite internet service across the “contiguous United States, Hawaii, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands,” since expanding the plans to cover the Earth.
Other companies, including Facebook, are working on their own satellite internet plans.
Amazon’s foray into space wouldn’t be the first for founder Jeff Bezos. The billionaire is also the founder of private aerospace company Blue Origin.
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It is unclear if Blue Origin will be providing the rockets behind Project Kuiper. The company is currently working with Canadian satellite internet company Telesat on LEO, Telesat’s own low-Earth-orbit satellite internet endeavor that also aims to provide high-speed internet around the world.
Amazon says it will “look at all options” for partners for the new service, adding it is “too early to say” on if one of those partners will be Blue Origin. The company also isn’t divulging much on timing, telling USA TODAY that “it would be premature to get into specifics.”
“This is a long-term project and it will be years before the service is available.”
Follow Eli Blumenthal on Twitter @eliblumenthal
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