Amazon to launch thousands of satellites to create global internet network

Anthony Cuthbertson

Amazon plans to launch thousands of satellites into space to establish a global internet network, a new filing has revealed.

The technology giant has requested permission from the US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to fire 3,236 satellites into orbit as part of Project Kuiper, which seeks to provide internet to under-served parts of the world.

Amazon's plans for Project Kuiper were first revealed in April, though few details about the timeline for the launch were given.

"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," the firm said in a statement at the time.

"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."

One potential partner company is the space startup Blue Origin, which was founded by Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos.

Amazon is not the only firm working to deploy a constellation of satellites to deliver a space-based internet.

With internet access declared a basic human right by the United Nations in 2016, several companies have since launched endeavours to provide coverage around the world.

One of Amazon's main rivals in this new space race is Elon Musk's SpaceX.

In May, SpaceX launched the first 60 satellites of its Starlink project, which hopes to eventually place nearly 12,000 internet satellites into orbit.

A further six Starlink launches are planned for later this year, with the FCC granting permission for 100 more deployments over the next six years.