Amazon has filed application documents with the FCC seeking permission to launch 3,236 satellites composing the Project Kuiper internet satellite network.
Amazon describes a satellite constellation at between 366 and 391 miles in altitude comprising 98 orbital planes of approximately 30 satellites per plane.
In addition to providing broadband services to over three billion people currently without internet, Amazon’s service also seeks to provide shopping, video streaming and Amazon Web Services access to existing and new customers.
Amazon claims that commercial services will begin once 578 satellites are in proper orbit (or about 18% of the full planned constellation).
Loon, the internet balloon company that spun out from (Google) X, has announced two major updates.
First, a Loon balloon has set a new flight record with 223 days aloft. Loon has worked hard to extend the flight times of its balloons, which in turn lowers costs. Loon’s previous flight time record was 198 days.
Second, Loon appears close to providing commercial service in rural Kenya. It has now received permission from Kenyan authorities for commercial testing. If Loon is able to demonstrate its business model with Telkom Kenya, other service providers in Kenya and in the region can quickly adopt the service. Loon can launch and manage additional balloons relatively inexpensively, so scaling services should be possible.
Kenyans living in rural areas may soon have 4G access brought to them by stratospheric balloon.