Verizon and Amazon have announced a partnership to use the latter’s Project Kuiper satellites to deliver internet access to underserved communities.
Many companies and organizations are working to address the US “digital divide,” the difference in available internet access for rural vs urban areas. Verizon has been rolling out its Home Internet solution, which uses the company’s wireless service to provide internet access.
In its latest move, Verizon is turning to Amazon’s Project Kuiper to help extend its existing network and serve as the backend for its efforts. Project Kuiper will deliver broadband internet via a constellation of low Earth orbit (LEO) satellites. The company received FCC clearance in July 2020 to launch as many as 3,236 satellites. The approval was conditioned on the company launching at least half that number by July 2026. To date, however, not a single satellite has been launched.
Despite that, it appears Verizon has confidence in Project Kuiper.
“Project Kuiper offers flexibility and unique capabilities for a LEO satellite system, and we’re excited about the prospect of adding a complementary connectivity layer to our existing partnership with Amazon,” Verizon Chairman and CEO Hans Vestberg said. “We know the future will be built on our leading 5G network, designed for mobility, fixed wireless access and real-time cloud compute. More importantly, we believe that the power of this technology must be accessible for all. Today’s announcement will help us explore ways to bridge that divide and accelerate the benefits and innovation of wireless connectivity, helping benefit our customers on both a global and local scale.”
“There are billions of people without reliable broadband access, and no single company will close the digital divide on its own,” Amazon CEO Andy Jassy said. “Verizon is a leader in wireless technology and infrastructure, and we’re proud to be working together to explore bringing fast, reliable broadband to the customers and communities who need it most. We look forward to partnering with companies and organizations around the world who share this commitment.”
Verizon is already struggling to play catchup to T-Mobile’s 5G network. It remains to be seen if hitching its rural endeavors to a company that has yet to deliver will pay off.