Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 16 September 2019

Amazon's satellite project will cost billions, Jeff Bezos says

Online retail giant disclosed Project Kuiper initiative earlier this year

Jeff Bezos, Amazon's chief executive, while speaking at the company’s re:MARS conference in Las Vegas. Reuters
Jeff Bezos, Amazon's chief executive, while speaking at the company’s re:MARS conference in Las Vegas. Reuters

Amazon plans to spend billions of dollars building a network of thousands of satellites to provide broadband internet service, company’s chief executive Jeff Bezos said.

The Project Kuiper initiative, disclosed earlier this year, is the type of big bet the company needs to keep making as its massive scale renders smaller endeavours less meaningful, Mr Bezos said on Thursday at Amazon’s re:MARS conference in Las Vegas.

The project, he said, is “a very good business for Amazon” because it requires a big capital expenditure. “It’s multiple billions of dollars of capex. Amazon is a large enough company now that we need to be doing things that, if they work, can actually move the needle.”

In filings with the International Telecommunications Union, Amazon said it aimed to place 3,236 satellites into low Earth orbit, and use them to beam broadband internet connectivity across the globe. The project is separate from Mr Bezos’s space launch vehicle maker, Blue Origin.

“By definition you end up accessing people who are kind of, under-bandwidthed,” Mr Bezos said. “Rural areas, remote areas. And I think you can see that, going forward, access to broadband is going to be very close to a fundamental human need.”

Updated: June 7, 2019 10:42 AM

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