Wednesday, February 8, 2023

MENU

A competitor to Starlink’s mobile broadband? Guess who…

In the first commercial agreement aimed at beginning the launch of Amazon Project Kuiper satellites, Amazon announced in early April that it had purchased as many as 83 launches from Arianespace, Blue Origin, and United Launch Alliance. All of the launch capacity is in aid of getting satellites into low-earth orbit for Amazon’s broadband service designed to compete with SpaceX’s Starlink.

The company intends to launch more than 3,200 satellites to commence its Kuiper service. Does this mean competition in the satellite broadband service space for RVers and other mobile users? Well, certainly not in the immediate future.

When will Kuiper service begin?

Amazon has yet to launch any of the satellites for its planned service. The company has recently stated that the total number necessary in the mega constellation to start the service will not be in orbit until 2026—nearly four years away.

Amazon declined to disclose the deal’s financial terms but has said it plans to spend billions of dollars on launch contracts as part of a startup cost of more than $10 billion.

So, with the deployment of adequate Kuiper satellite capacity years away, SpaceX’s Starlink WI-Fi for mobile customers needn’t worry that they will regret not waiting to see what Amazon offers in terms of service, cost, and WI-Fi availability. Yet the prospect of competition is a generally good thing for all users, likely leading to lower costs. It currently costs a little more than $600 to acquire the Starlink hardware necessary to use the broadband network, plus $110 per month for the service, and another $25 to access the roaming feature necessary to make the service functional RVers.

“Securing launch capacity from multiple providers has been a key part of our strategy from day one,” Rajeev Badyal, vice president of technology for Project Kuiper at Amazon, said. “This approach reduces the risk associated with launch vehicle stand-downs and supports long-term competitive pricing for Amazon.”

Amazon must launch half of its satellites by mid-2026

Amazon needs to expedite a lot of satellite launches soon to comply with the requirements of its Federal Communications Commission license, which was awarded back in mid-2020. That license stipulates that Amazon must launch half of its satellites by mid-2026 and have the complete constellation in orbit not more than three years later. Amazon spokespersons stated that the new launch contracts will put the company “on track to meet deadlines set forth in the FCC license.”



“These launch agreements reflect our incredible commitment and belief in Project Kuiper, and we’re proud to be working with such an impressive lineup of partners to deliver on our mission,” said Dave Limp, senior vice president for Amazon Devices and Services, in a recent statement.

There is a technology and regulatory feud between SpaceX/Starlink’s CEO Elon Musk and Amazon’s Jeff Bezos. The latter has petitioned the FCC to thwart some of SpaceX’s fluid Starlink launch and constellation-building plans.

SpaceX’s Starlink still has the upper hand

“It does not serve the public to hamstring Starlink today for an Amazon satellite system that is at best several years away from operation,” Elon Musk stated in a tweet from January 2021.

Clearly and not unexpectedly, SpaceX will eventually have one or more competitors in the satellite broadband space. But SpaceX has a clear four- or five-year advantage with what it has created thus far.

RELATED

##RVT1052b

Advertisement/Affiliate

Facebook Groups you might like
RV Electricity
RVing with Dogs
RV Tech Tips
Electric Bikes for RVers
RV Advice
RV Short Stops (NEW)
Towing Behind a Motorhome
. . . and the official RVtravel.com Facebook page

Winterizing your RV this season? Amazon has a wide choice of RV antifreeze.

Comments

0 0 votes
Article Rating
Subscribe to comments
Notify of

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

31 Comments
Newest
Oldest
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
DrWebb
8 months ago

From everything I’ve read about Starlink there is virtually no technical/customer support. If for whatever reason it doesn’t work there’s nobody to help you.

Kwuteg
8 months ago

How sad. Musk launches his own satellites and Bezos uses…..Europeans. count me out

Steve Browning
8 months ago

Doesn’t seem like much of a competitor with the inability to currently provide the service….

John
8 months ago

Bezos is not an astronaut, according to FAA regulations, he is pale in comparison to Musk, or just pale in general, and is no more than a glorified owner of a successful online marketplace. If I were faced with the option, I would pick Starlink every time, without doubt.

Paul White
8 months ago

Jeff Bezos and Elon Musk are big players and can afford to lose/write off a few million dollars. The federal government will take care of them. They did it with Chrysler and General Motors.

Paul White
8 months ago

I hope that Bezos and Musk compete to benefit the consumers as opposed to forming a monopolistic deal that we can’t afford to pay.

southern il
8 months ago

I’m one who fairly recently obtained the service from starlink. The difference between starlink and 4G cell service connectivity is huge. Star link is faster and as long as you are unobstructed it appears to be much more reliable. most cell towers in remote areas are not adequately served by whatever backhaul they have. generally in more remote places it’s a microwave link. they prioritize voice traffic so that your connectivity is going to always take second place.

these terrestrial providers have taken billions of dollars from the US government and never provided the build out to the people that they took the money for. The FCC can’t do much about it because there wasn’t any teeth to force compliance years ago when these programs were started. everyone knows it’s a scam but they can’t fix it now. it’s to the point that if you’re going to take government money and cover particular areas geographically, you need to buy contract or statute cover everyone. we shall see

Joe Duarte
8 months ago

Randall Brink, Starlink isn’t Wi-Fi. Wi-Fi is a short-range, local area network technology, what you get from a wireless router. The range is usually under 75 feet indoors. Satellite internet is just satellite internet, not Wi-Fi.

Tamy Eindhove Neudorfer
8 months ago

They will all fail terribly. These companies will llose billions of dollars before calling it a terrible mistake. As the world gets more and more 5g 4g and wired connections across the oceans these satellite solutions will eventually become too expensive to pay for not to mention control and replenish. Oh i just pity all the hidden investors who think they will make biliions form people who live on a dolalr a day in the third world. And the USA? who are these 300-400 millions AMAZON ceo is talkoga bout? Does he really think AMAZON is the world’s only shop keeper??

KellyR
8 months ago

I’m hanging on to my flip phone.

Malakie
8 months ago

Starlink DOES NOT have the upper hand. Why? Because thousands of people, I AM ONE of them, have waited for over a YEAR and a HALF now for our hardware even after paying the full invoice. We are now working to get our money back because as far as I am concerned, starlink is a scam. I will probably give Amazon a try when it is available. I am currently stuck on 5 MB/s rural 40 year old DSL phone line.

I took a chance with starlink and for me it was a huge one because I am a disabled Veteran on very limited V/A monthly disability income. I don’t care about any fanboy comments so don’t even try. I have been scammed as far as I am concerned. No word, no contact, no email so I can get ahold of starlink, let alone any hardware or service.

I hope Amazon learns these lessons and at this point, while I will have to wait even more years for something, at least one way or the other there may finally be a way to get broadband internet…

Last edited 8 months ago by Malakie
J. Wilson
8 months ago
Reply to  Malakie

I too am waiting for the hardware, but you need to be honest with yourself about this. They were VERY clear & up-front about the deal you were entering into. They were taking reservations for a service that was just starting to be put together, both the immense task of building & launching the satellites and putting together the earth system that supports them and the finalization & production of the user dish package. In essence we agreed to both help finance and to demonstrate there was actually a market for this trillion-dollar project.

Jim
8 months ago
Reply to  Malakie

I know a lot of people with Starlink, none of them have waited that long, even in larger markets, once they got out of beta they sped up delivery, but their shortage on parts, etc is not their fault. I will say its a great service.

Tdh
8 months ago
Reply to  Malakie

Just recived my starlink.

Plugged it in and 15min later I was connected.

Of course I used 7 of those 15 min to fully configure my account and wifi settings.

Maurizio Taglianini
8 months ago

Just like Tesla and Rivian 🙂

Tommy Molnar
8 months ago

Ever since 1957 when Sputnik was launched, we’ve been ‘littering’ space with satellites. Both us and ‘them’ send countless satellites up on a monthly basis. Over 20 years ago I saw a list of satellites in Air & Space magazine of how many satellites were circling (or in geosynchronous orbit) around the earth – and it was astounding. This is not to mention all the “space junk” that follows satellite launches. They all seem to be at the same relative altitude too. Satellite jam?

Bob p
8 months ago

My question out of my small thinking brain is space is a big place, but I’m assuming ( I know assume makes an a** out of u and me) but isn’t the sky going to get awfully crowded over North America with all these satellites orbiting above us? Before long it’ll start looking like rush hour in Atlanta. Lol

Bob p
8 months ago
Reply to  Bob p

Glad I’ll be gone by the time all that stuff starts to fall out of its orbit back to earth, anybody thought about that?

Joe Duarte
8 months ago
Reply to  Bob p

You really think they didn’t think of that? Small satellites are easy to burn up in re-entry. Bigger satellites get parked in storage orbits. When it becomes cheap enough, we’ll start to see retrieval or scrapping operations.

Joe Duarte
8 months ago
Reply to  Bob p

Imagine there were 10,000 cars in the US, all roaming the highways at the same time. How crowded would that be? How often would you even see another car?

Now extend that to the entire planet, and go ahead and jack up the number to 20,000 or 50,000 cars roaming the world’s highways. It would be desolate, empty.

Space is bigger. Low earth orbit is like a fatter Earth, slightly larger diameter. And the bigger satellites are higher up in medium Earth orbit (GPS) and geosynchronous orbit (DirecTV, SiriusXM, weather, etc.). And there are only a few hundred of those.

Ed D.
8 months ago

I guess Elon will now have to purchase Amazon, to eliminate the competition in space. 🙂

Malakie
8 months ago
Reply to  Ed D.

I pray he does not even try.

Ed D.
8 months ago
Reply to  Malakie

I said that in sarcasm.

WrkrBee
8 months ago

I imagine they are working on an electric rocket for “green” launches.

Bob p
8 months ago
Reply to  WrkrBee

Yep and Thor will be there too!

Bill T
8 months ago

That’s great, more junk in orbit.

Ran
8 months ago

Competition drives the price down. Hopefully, internet will become cheaper and not more expensive for those of us RVer’s, who just wanna keep available and dip in and out as we please, for a reasonable price!

Malakie
8 months ago
Reply to  Ran

There is no competition. Starlink is a scam as far as I am concerned. I am one of those that took a chance and over a year and a half later, am working to get my money back after paying the full invoice and getting NOTHING from starlink.. not even a way to contact them directly.

Seann Fox
8 months ago

Is it prime-able?
ROTFLOL

Subscribe to our newsletter

Every Saturday and Sunday morning. Serving RVers for more than 20 years.