Amazon.com is seeking permission from US communications regulators to install more than 4,500 additional satellites as part of the company’s drive to bring high-speed internet to underserved areas around the world.
Amazon previously stated that it intended to spend at least $10 billion on the construction of 3,236 such satellites through its Project Kuiper initiative. It asked the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) late Thursday for permission to install a total of 7,774 satellites for the project.
Amazon requested the FCC on Monday for permission to launch and operate two prototype satellites by the end of 2022.
Amazon said in its filing the satellites “will serve households, hospitals, businesses, government agencies, and other organizations around the world, including in geographic areas where reliable broadband remains lacking.”
“Although connectivity has improved on a global basis, only 51% of the global population, and 44% of the population of developing countries, are online,” the company filing said.
In 2020, the FCC approved the Project Kuiper plan for a constellation of low-Earth orbit satellites to compete with Elon Musk’s SpaceX’s Starlink network.
Amazon has sparred with Musk, recently accusing the billionaire of flouting a slew of regulatory regulations.
In the private space launch sector, Amazon founder Jeff Bezos and Musk compete. Blue Origin, Bezos’ company, had challenged the National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s decision to grant SpaceX a $2.9 billion lunar lander contract, but a judge dismissed the appeal on Thursday.
SpaceX has deployed more than 1,700 satellites.
The FCC authorised Boeing Co’s proposal earlier this week to launch and operate 147 satellites to deliver high-speed broadband internet access.
Boeing first applied to the FCC in 2017 for permission to launch a V-band Constellation of primarily low-Earth orbit satellites.
Boeing said this week it “sees a multi-orbit future for satellite technologies. As the demand for satellite communications grows, diversity will be required across orbital regimes and frequencies to satisfy unique customer demands.”