Amazon responds to claims that it’s attempting to stifle satellite Internet competition

Shane McGlaun - Feb 6, 2021, 7:08am CST
Amazon responds to claims that it’s attempting to stifle satellite Internet competition

Certainly, one of the most profitable realms that SpaceX is involved in is satellite Internet service with its Starlink satellites. With the potential to make huge profits, satellite Internet service is something other competing companies are also trying to get into, including Amazon. This week, Amazon’s satellite Internet project attempted to clarify its position in response to SpaceX CEO Elon Musk’s accusations that Amazon is trying to stifle competition in the sector.

Amazon’s satellite Internet service is called Kuiper, and the company is working to build a broadband network by placing satellites into orbit, just as Starlink has done. Amazon said in the past that the FCC should consider Starlink as a “newly designated system” and subject it to a broader range of regulatory processing after SpaceX submitted a modification request last year.

This week, Amazon representatives have spoken to FCC officials urging the FCC not to approve a modification request SpaceX made for part of its satellite network. According to Amazon, the changes that SpaceX has proposed are too significant to be considered a simple modification by the FCC. Rather, Amazon wants the system to be designated as a “newly designed system” enforcing broader regulatory processing.

Amazon believes that doing so would be consistent with the precedent set by the FCC and would protect the public interest, encourage coordination, and promote competition. Other satellite Internet providers are also pushing back on the Starlink modification request. SpaceX’s modification request was to move about 2800 satellites in the Starlink constellation initial phase to a lower altitude orbit than previously authorized.

The FCC has yet to decide on the proposal, although it allowed SpaceX to put ten satellites into a different orbit last month. SpaceX believes that Amazon is trying to hamstring its operations because Amazon is at least several years away from launching its first satellites.


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