Amazon has acquired a number of employees from Facebook that focus on providing Internet access from low-orbit satellites, Information reports. Amazon paid Facebook an undisclosed amount as part of the acquisition, during which more than a dozen Los Angeles-based employees switched company in April to work on Project Kuiper. A Facebook spokesman confirmed the news Information.
The change will put an end to Facebook’s efforts to provide Internet access to remote areas through its own satellites. When it confirmed the initiative in 2018 the company said it believes the technology will “bring broadband to rural areas with no or no internet connection”. Facebook had previously tried to use Internet drones to achieve similar goals before the end of the project in 2018.
At the same time, Amazon’s goals are to provide Internet via satellite was born in 2019. The company has said it expects to invest $ 10 billion in launching 3,236 satellites into low-Earth orbit by 2029. A similar goal is to provide the Internet to “unserved and disabled communities around the world”. Company received FCC approval to operate the network last year, and to launch half of its satellites by 2026. Information reports that Amazon is building a laboratory in Redmond, WA, and that about 500 employees are currently working on its satellite Internet project.
Late last year, Amazon revealed the design of the antennas Customers eventually use it to receive the Internet from their satellite Internet service. However, the company is not yet launching any of its satellites into space. In April, Amazon confirmed that it had signed nine launches with rocket operator United Launch Alliance (ULA), but did not provide a timetable for these launches to take place, CNBC reported at the time.
Amazon is one of the few technology companies trying to use satellites to provide Internet access in parts of the world where installing fixed infrastructure would be prohibitively expensive. SpaceX is perhaps the best known, and plans to eventually launch nearly 12,000 satellites into orbit. It already offers Starlink as a beta to a limited number of users, although the performance of some 13,000 satellites already in orbit has been so far inconsistent. OneWeb is another company investing in the area, but ran into financial difficulties last year when it was forced to apply bankruptcy protection.