Amazon Satellite Internet Moves Ahead

John Lister's picture

Amazon has unveiled home devices for receiving its satellite broadband service. It hopes to offer service by late next year but hasn't yet revealed pricing.

Satellite Internet is one of the major ways tech firms are attempting to solve the problem of high-speed Internet access in rural areas. Installing fiber cable there doesn't usually make financial sense to profit-driven businesses because there aren't enough potential customers to justify the cost of installing it and/or paying for the parts to install it in non-densely populated areas. Such locations are also often outside the range of cellphone networks offering fast data speeds.

The basic concept behind satellite Internet is to have enough satellites orbiting that customers in the serviced locations will always be able to connect to one that is passing close enough overhead.

Several companies already offer satellite services, though the technology has been plagued by disputes about availability and eligibility for public subsidies. Current services costs around $500 up front for equipment and then around $90-$120 for service.

Pizza Box Sized Receiver

Amazon has been working on satellite Internet for several years and has now revealed details of three user terminals: the receiver and transmitters for connecting to the network.

The standard model is just under 11 inches square and one inch thick, weighing under five pounds, not including a mounting bracket. The idea is that it should be easy to attach on most roofs.

There's also a 7-inch model that weighs around one pound aimed at home users on a budget, plus a rectangular 19 by 30 inch model aimed at business users.

Costs Unclear

The three models will have different maximum speeds: the basic model can provide up to 400 Mbps, the small model 100 Mbps and the large model 1 Gbps. (Source:

Arstechnica notes these may be limited in practice by network congestion and that upload speeds could be lower. (Source:

Amazon hasn't yet revealed pricing, but says the basic terminal will cost it under $400 to produce. Given its business model elsewhere, there's a good shot it sells the terminals at below cost price or even makes them free of charge to users who sign up for a minimum service period.

What's Your Opinion?

Are you in an area where traditional broadband provision isn't good enough? Would you consider satellite Internet? Would you be more likely to consider service from a known brand such as Amazon?

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jpkirkpatrick_12469's picture

Sounds like you are describing what is already available known as Starlink a division of Elon Musks SpaceX. I have it and love it. Gave up my HughesNet Geo-Synchronis system because the fell behind the technical curve and was way below their projected speed.
I live in rural southern Missouri (Foothills of Ozark Mountains) and had HughesNet for 25-years as it was the only service available out here. When Hughes never improved their speed and had very low user FAP (Fair Access Policy) and Starlink was available (as an RV Package) I jumped on it. Love it, almost no service interuptions and download speeds averaging 80-90 mb/s and has been as high as 160 mb/s. Streaming Movies and Live TV is never a problem!

~ JPKirkpatrick