American telecommunications conglomerate, Verizon is entering into a partnership with e-commerce giant Amazon to enhance wireless internet access to rural areas in the US.
Under this collaboration, both the firms will focus on increasing Verizon's LTE and 5G service and leveraging Amazon's Project Kuiper for backhaul, thereby increasing coverage in areas with no or little internet access.
After executing this move, Amazon and Verizon plan to offer combined internet access to industries globally, which includes farms and transportation. However, for now, they are developing technical requirements for rural broadband leveraging Project Kuiper antenna technology which is already in development. Both firms did not provide a timeline for the satellite augmented services.
Reportedly, Amazon recently lined up its rocket launches under its Project Kuiper. Still, the firm does not expect to have half of its satellites in low Earth orbit by 2026. The full constellation is anticipated by July 2029.
Apparently, Amazon and Verizon are competing with SpaceX's quickly rising Starlink service, and both fear losing consumers if Starlink gains too much traction, especially from corporate clients such as Google.
SpaceX is already offering its Starlink broadband satellite service to consumers, at a very competitive speed in comparison to many wired broadband services. However, it is estimated that the Verizon-Amazon hybrid solution could be much better.
Adding terrestrial 5G towers to a satellite-linked system could expand coverage and limit latency to more devices, but Starlink might have an upper hand on the market until 2029.
Sources believe that with the outcomes of this partnership, Americans would gain expanded access to fast internet in more areas of the country.
With FCC investing billions of dollars into 5G technology, rural internet coverage is still far from complete. This gap might fill-up through such moves without the need to wire as much of the countryside as done traditionally.