Thursday, June 1, 2023


Amazon’s satellite internet Project Kuiper ramping up. Trouble for Starlink?

With SpaceX releasing news of Starlink’s advancements almost daily, the satellite broadband provider has achieved an aura of invincibility. Is Starlink invulnerable to competition? Or is a strong rival about to enter the broadband space race?

When Starlink RV debuted in May of 2022, there was no competitor in sight. But since then, we’ve heard rumblings from Amazon that it is working on its Project Kuiper and pushing it toward fruition.

Project Kuiper ramping up

Amazon’s Project Kuiper has a group of about one thousand engineers and techs working out of labs nationwide on the company’s Low Earth Orbit (LEO) satellite project. The center of the engineering effort is currently in Redmond, Washington. However, this year, Project Kuiper will open a 172,000 sq. ft. dedicated satellite production facility in Kirkland, Washington, to expand manufacturing capacity. The facility will be able to build up to four satellites daily.

The project began in 2018 and received its initial Federal Communications Commission (FCC) license in July 2020. That license requires at least one-half of Amazon’s forecast 3,236 satellites to be launched by 2026.

Right now, that seems like a long way off when SpaceX already has more than 3,600 satellites in orbit and providing service. Amazon Project Kuiper projects that it will launch two prototype LEO satellites this year.

The Kuiper Compact User Terminal

Project Kuiper released details and images of its customer terminals in March. Kuiper will take a different approach to service delivery and data speeds than Starlink. Kuiper will use three user terminals—one a compact dish similar to Starlink’s, a higher bandwidth model, and a substantially larger, very high bandwidth version designed for enterprise applications. Project Kuiper released these details:

A sneak peek at Kuiper user terminals

  • An affordable high-performance design for residential and small business customers: Project Kuiper’s standard customer terminal measures less than 11 inches square and 1 inch thick. It weighs less than five pounds without its mounting bracket. Despite this modest footprint, the device will be one of the most powerful commercially available customer terminals of its size, delivering speeds up to 400 megabits per second (Mbps). Amazon expects to produce these terminals for less than $400 each.
Kuiper residential terminal
  • An ultra-compact design to help connect even more customers: A 7-inch square design will be Project Kuiper’s smallest and most affordable customer terminal. Weighing just 1 pound and offering speeds up to 100 Mbps, its portability and affordability will create opportunities to serve even more customers worldwide. This design will connect residential customers who need an even lower-cost model and government and enterprise customers pursuing applications like ground mobility and the internet of things (IoT). [Per Wikipedia: The Internet of things describes physical objects with sensors, processing ability, software and other technologies that connect and exchange data with other devices and systems over the Internet or other communications networks.]
  • A high-bandwidth design for the most demanding needs: Project Kuiper’s largest, most capable model is designed for enterprise, government, and telecommunications applications that require even more bandwidth. The device measures 19 inches by 30 inches and will deliver speeds up to 1 gigabit per second (Gbps).“Our goal with Project Kuiper is not just to connect unserved and underserved communities but also to delight them with the quality, reliability, and value of their service,” said Rajeev Badyal, Amazon’s vice president of technology for Project Kuiper.
  • “From day one, every technology and business decision we’ve made has centered on what will deliver the best experience for different customers worldwide, and our range of customer terminals reflects those choices.”

Expect rapid development

For RVers looking for alternatives to cellular connectivity or Starlink RV, seeing the seemingly slower pace of Project Kuiper’s development is intriguing. However, remember that we’re talking about Amazon, with its vast resources and technology capabilities. While its satellite broadband service seems futuristic, the project is gathering momentum in the greater Seattle area’s research and engineering labs and new manufacturing facilities. Stay tuned.

More recent Starlink news


Randall Brink
Randall Brink
Randall Brink is an author hailing from Idaho. He has written many fiction and non-fiction books, including the critically acclaimed Lost Star: The Search for Amelia Earhart. He is the screenwriter for the new Grizzly Adams television series and the feature film Goldfield. Randall Brink has a diverse background not only as a book author, Hollywood screenwriter and script doctor, but also as an airline captain, chief executive, and Alaska bush pilot.


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TJ Miller
1 month ago

RVs aside, I live rural. My choices are 24mbps DSL ($100/mo), 24mbps HughesNet or Viasat Geostationary Sat Internet service (up 5o $160+/mo with harsh bandwidth caps), 4G Hotspot from Verizon w/ a small bandwidth cap ($$$$$!)…

…or 300mbps and no caps from Starlink for $120/mo.

So, for stationary use out here in the sticks, Starlink reigns supreme.

1 month ago
Reply to  TJ Miller

Starlink announced heavy expensive caps several months ago which are now being implemented, so your info is way out of date.

1 month ago

I suppose that if NASA can contract with Musk to put NASA satelites into orbit, Bezos can pay Musk to put his satelites into orbit.

Now that VIRGIN’S space program collaped last week and they cannot secure funding to continue leaves them nothing more than a pile of aluminum dust in Branson’s portfolio and puts Musk solidly in the driver’s seat.

Competition is good and clearly Musk needs some when it comes to Starlink. Nothing improves service, or price or reliability of any product than a competitor. If not Bezos and Amazon, who? Won’t be Branson now.

Robert Jobson
1 month ago

competition is always good

1 month ago

Looking forward to seeing this development and it’s “lower Prices”!?

Roy Ellithorpe
1 month ago
Reply to  Ran

Don’t hold your breath.

Randy D
1 month ago

My comment on this is this is Amazon. Amazon makes all kinds of promises that it later backs down on. Their shipping is a ‘prime’ example. They made it sound like 2 day shipping was the norm. Sometimes yes, many times no. They introduced ‘Same Day shipping’ but that no longer happens either. They create fanfare for the intro of things, then silently drop it. I’d be worried about the same here.

And where is Bezos going to get rockets? He has no fleet of rockets. He only has a {bleeped} shaped rocket which goes up for a brief weightlessness, then back down. It can’t deploy anything.

If I needed satellite internet, I’d only look to Musk’s system.

1 month ago
Reply to  Randy D

Seems to me that Starlink has had many delays and broken promises as well and the cost up substantially from what they initially said.

No Sainthood award for them either!

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