Briefing

Amazon wants to launch 3,236 satellites so it can offer high-speed internet from space

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The satellites are intended to provide greater connectivity to areas with poor or no internet access. Amazon filed for three sets of approvals in March with the International Telecommunications Union and the U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC). (CNBC)

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Talking point: In November 2018, Elon Musk’s SpaceX won FCC approval to put 7,000 Starlink Internet satellites into orbit, almost double the size of Amazon’s initiative. Amazon is facing stiff competition in the satellite internet space. In March 2018, SoftBank-backed OneWeb raised US$1.25 billion to launch 650 satellites. Ottawa-based Telesat has been also been granted FCC approval and plans to launch 300 satellites. Lofty proposals on satellite-based internet don’t always work out. In 2015, Facebook proposed launching a satellite in space to provide connectivity in Africa, but to save costs, it instead leased Spacecom’s broadband on-board AMOS-6 satellite, which was later destroyed in a space explosion.