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Verizon selects Amazon as its LEO satellite buddy

US operator Verizon has made an announcement with regards to its collaboration with Amazon’s Project Kuiper to assist with its 5G coverage challenges. 

Project Kuiper is Amazon’s low earth orbit (LEO) satellite initiative, developed to contest with Elon Musk’s Starlink and UK-based OneWeb in the next-gen satellite connectivity market. Being nearer to the earth, LEO satellite connectivity has benefits in comparison to the geostationary equivalent, which includes reduced latency. 

Verizon appears to have entered into some kind of strategic partnership agreement with Amazon via which it will have furnished the type of long-term commitment that assists with capital-intensive project like lobbing loads of satellites into space. What should be stressed, however, that these LEO satellites don’t link directly to devices, unlike Lynk. 

Project Kuiper provides flexibility and unique capacities for a LEO satellite system, and we’re thrilled with regards to the prospect of including a complementary connectivity layer to our current partnership with Amazon, stated Verizon CEO Hans Vestberg. “We are aware the future will be built on our leading 5G network, developed for mobility, fixed wireless access and real-time cloud compute. 

“More critically, we hold the belief that the potency of this technology must be accessible for all. The latest announcement will assist us to explore ways to bridge that divide and hasten the advantages and innovation of wireless connectivity, assisting in conferring advantages to our clients on both an international and local scale.” 

It appears this will primarily take the shape of furnishing wireless backhaul to remote base stations, which appears to be just the kind of thing Project Kuiper and its competitors are poised to perform. You can observe why this would be particularly appealing to Verizon, for whom coverage is a drawback having dropped the ball on long-range low frequency spectrums in favour of a baffling bet on millimetre wave. 

“There are billions of persons without robust broadband access, and no singular entity will shut the digital divide on its own,” stated Amazon CEO Andy Jassy. “Verizon is a leader in wireless technology and infrastructure, and we’re proud to be working together to look into bring quick, dependable broadband to the clients and communities who require it the most. We look forward to collaborating with entities and organizations around the planet who share this commitment.” 

The new collaboration will also look at fresh B2B services it will facilitate Verizon to offer, which will consist of things such as agricultural IoT. “Smart farms, bringing tech to agriculture, and linking the last mile of rural America will be of utmost criticality in assisting our industry to furnish food for billions around the planet.”, stated Betsy Huber, President of the National Grange. “Ensuring connectivity in rural areas will be critical to making these endeavours a success.” 

Not before long all operators who are worth their salt will require to have an LEO-powered rural coverage strategy. The presumption is that there are some benefits to going all-in with a singular LEO provider but Amazon appears like a particularly big bet, provided its status as the number one public cloud player. Verizon has to ensure that its relationship with Amazon, on whom it is already dependent for a bunch of mobile edge computing stuff, stays robust and healthy. 

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