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Amazon Reveal Kit and Broadband Speeds for Project Kuiper Satellites

Wednesday, Mar 15th, 2023 (7:53 am) - Score 4,096

Online shopping giant Amazon has just revealed the first solid details of both the customer hardware (terminals) and targeted ultrafast broadband speeds for Project Kuiper, which represents their own plan to launch a global mega-constellation of satellites in Low Earth Orbit (LEO) to deliver affordable internet connectivity.

The idea of using LEOs is that they orbit significantly closer to Earth – in Amazon’s case it’s between 590 and 630 km (about 367 and 392 miles) versus 35,000km for a large GSO / GEO Satellite – and are comparatively small. Sadly, this means you need a lot more of them for good coverage, but that quantity also delivers lots of data capacity and relatively fast latency times (often c.20-40ms) – provided it’s all matched by plenty of Ground Stations.

NOTE: Project Kuiper’s LEOs will communicate with ground stations using the 17.8-18.6GHz and 28.6-29.1GHz bands.

Amazon currently has approval to deploy and operate their own constellation of 3,236 LEO satellites as part of Project Kuiper. At the last update, the company planned to launch half of its constellation no later than July 2026 (FCC requirement) and the rest would then be completed by the middle of 2029, which is well behind their rivals at SpaceX (Starlink) and UK based OneWeb.

However, until now, we didn’t know much about what kind of hardware would be supplied to consumers and business or what sort of performance they might expect. The good news is that Amazon has now sought to answer some of these questions.

Project Kuiper Kit and Speeds

Project Kuiper is expected to ship three customer terminals (satellite dishes / antenna). The smallest (7-inch square) will be targeted at residential consumers across the world, while a larger variant (11 inches square and 1 inch thick) of that same terminal is intended for residential and business clients, and the largest terminal (19 inches by 30 inches) is aimed at high demand enterprise, telecoms and government clients.


The smallest ultra-compact model will aim to provide broadband speeds of “up to” 100Mbps (Megabits per second), while their slightly larger standard model delivers up to 400Mbps, and the largest model should be able to deliver up to 1Gbps (Gigabit per second). At this stage, there’s no mention of what upload speeds it will achieve or the final latency times, but we’d expect latency times to be in the same ballpark as Starlink’s service.

Naturally, it’s the smallest terminal that will be of most interest to consumers, which begs the question – how much will the kit cost? Amazon hasn’t detailed any service packages or prices yet, but they have said that the smaller terminals cost less than $500 (£411) to build. This indicates that the hardware price may end up being cheaper than Starlink’s solution, and they’ll want to undercut Starlink on service prices too. But the high cost of such networks does place a restriction on how competitive Amazon can afford to be without hurting themselves.

The terminals are all powered by an Amazon-designed baseband chip, developed under the code name “Prometheus.” This combines the processing power of a 5G modem chip found in modern smartphones, the capability of a cellular base station to handle traffic from thousands of customers at once, and the ability of a microwave backhaul antenna to support powerful point-to-point connections – all packed into a single custom chip.

Rajeev Badyal, Amazon’s VP of Technology for Project Kuiper, said:

“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. From day one, every technology and business decision we’ve made has centered on what will deliver the best experience for different customers around the world, and our range of customer terminals reflects those choices.”

Amazon is now preparing to launch their first two prototype satellites – Kuipersat-1 and Kuipersat-2 – in early 2023, and they expect to provide service to the earliest Project Kuiper customers by the end of 2024. The system, as currently designed, can process up to 1Tbps (Terabits per second) of data traffic on board each satellite.

The company has so far announced contracts for up to 92 heavy-lift rocket launches, which give them the capacity to deploy the majority of their planned satellite constellation. The launch partners include Arianespace, Blue Origin, and United Launch Alliance (ULA). One issue here is that a lot of those contracts involve new rockets, which can be prone to significant delays.

All good news, then, unless you happen to be worried about the growing problem of “space junk” in Earth’s orbit or the negative impacts on space-focused observational sciences.

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By Mark Jackson
Mark is a professional technology writer, IT consultant and computer engineer from Dorset (England), he also founded ISPreview in 1999 and enjoys analysing the latest telecoms and broadband developments. Find me on X (Twitter), Mastodon, Facebook and .
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7 Responses
  1. Avatar photo Jonny says:

    Hooray for more space junk

  2. Avatar photo haha says:

    Be ironic if they started to use SpaceX for their launches – seeing as they are about 90% cheaper than the companies above..

    We don’t need more – Amazon are the BT of Sat providers – gonna be too little to late

    1. Avatar photo anonymous says:

      not that ironic, Oneweb is using SpaceX to do their launches now. SpaceX doesn’t care, they’re happy that they’ve got customers I suppose. I’m sure they would launch for Amazon too. I just wonder why anyone might pick Kuiper over Starlink, I suppose it will come down to price and speed/offerings.

    2. Avatar photo Chris says:

      No more ironic than talk talk, sky or Vodafone using “BT owned and operated” open reach to provide last mile connectivity to their customers.

  3. Avatar photo John Smith says:

    If Amazon are smart, which thy are, they will likely target all those Customers with eeros. All those ISPs and Altnets that think its a good idea to deploy eeros as part of their service will be bypassed and ultimitely screwed by their ‘partner’….simple as!

  4. Avatar photo name says:

    I hope they dont keep the name ‘kuiper’ lol

  5. Avatar photo Buggerlugz says:

    The 100mb and 400mb dish kit, Seriously? Its 2023, why even bother.

Comments are closed

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