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Amazon plans to launch thousands of satellites for global internet access

Project Kuiper involves deploying 3,236 low-Earth orbit satellites to cover roughly 95 percent of the global population

Satellite network visualization
In November, Amazon announced it was building a network of 12 satellite facilities around the world

Amazon.com Inc (MASDAQ:AMZN) wants to launch thousands of satellites into space as part of a mission to provide global internet access, engadget reported Thursday. The endeavor, titled Project Kuiper, involves deploying 3,236 low-Earth orbit satellites in to cover roughly 95% of the global population.

"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," an Amazon spokesperson told GeekWire, which originally discovered filings for the project. "This is a long-term project that envisions serving tens of millions of people who lack basic access to broadband internet."

READ: Amazon is planning a free news app for Fire TV

In November, Amazon Web Services announced that the company was building a network of 12 satellite facilities around the world called AWS Ground Stations in order to more quickly transmit data between satellites and Earth.

Project Kuiper is Amazon’s salvo in what’s gearing up to be a global broadband space race. Elon Musk’s SpaceX launched a pair of satellites last year, an early step toward the company’s ambition of a more than 12,000-satellite network. OneWeb launched the first six satellite of its planned 650-satellite network last month.

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos is also funding Blue Origin, a project that he hopes will send tourists to space later this year, per CNBC.

Shares slipped 0.3% to 1,815.3.

Contact Andrew Kessel at [email protected]

Follow him on Twitter @andrew_kessel

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