AMAZON IS SETTING about its most ambitious delivery yet: 3,236 low-Earth satellites, designed to provide fast broadband to "unserved and underserved communities around the world."
The service is called Project Kuiper, which is presumably named after the Kuiper Belt, rather than former Brighton & Hove Albion goalkeeper Michel Kuipers.
According to GeekWire, which broke the story, Bezos and Co plan to put 784 satellites at an altitude of 367 miles, 1,297 at 379 miles and 1,156 at 391 miles. The site says that, between them, the satellites will cover 56 degrees north to 56 degrees south - an area that should support around 95 per cent of the Earth's population.
If you've had to deal with the kind of high latency that plagues satellite broadband before, you may be feeling a pang of pity for the people who'll have to rely on this to get their internet fix, but this is a different kettle of fish. Low Earth orbit satellites should apparently offer latency as low as 25ms, making it a genuine competitor to our less flashy land-based solutions.
"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 said in a statement.
"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."
It sounds like a noble and philanthropic aim, but a lot depends upon the actual implementation. Facebook got initial praise for its internet.org initiative that promised basic internet services to parts of the developing world, before people discovered how Facebook-heavy the internet would be for its newest users.
In other words, high-speed internet for communities in need is very, very welcome. But if Amazon limits its users to just watching The Grand Tour loops on Prime Video, then everyone would be better off if it stuck to its strengths: shipping 3am drunk purchases before you have a chance to cancel. µ
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