Facebook's satellite internet team joins Amazon's Project Kuiper in acquisition deal

Facebook's team of connectivity experts will help Amazon ramp up plans to establish a constellation of 3,236 satellites.
Written by Aimee Chanthadavong, Contributor
Image: NASA

Facebook has struck a deal with Amazon that has seen the social media giant's team of wireless internet experts move over to join Amazon's Project Kuiper.

While the companies are not disclosing the terms of the deal, a Facebook spokesperson confirmed with ZDNet, following initial reports by The Information, that a small number of its connectivity team has moved across to Amazon.

"We believe satellite technology will enable the next generation of broadband infrastructure, and as part of our connectivity efforts, we've built an incredible team around designing and testing new ways to advance satellite connectivity using optical communications and radio frequency systems and solutions," the Facebook spokesperson said.

"Facebook remains committed to enabling better, broader global connectivity through the development of new programs, technologies and business models, and we're excited to watch as this team takes their work to the next stage and makes a lasting impact in the field."

Bringing additional staff onto Project Kuiper will help Amazon bolster its plans to establish a constellation of 3,236 satellites in low Earth orbit to patch up areas with poor or no internet connectivity. The plan has been in the making since 2019 but the company was only granted approval by the Federal Communications Commission last July. Amazon plans to invest $10 billion in the project.

At the end of last year, Amazon revealed the design of its Project Kuiper end-user terminals, which the company boasted were "smaller and lighter than legacy antenna designs". Amazon reckons the smaller and lighter terminal will cut production costs by an "order of magnitude".

Despite saying bon voyage to its satellite connectivity team, Facebook reaffirmed its commitment recently during MWC 2021 to expanding connectivity more broadly by continuing to work with partners to build new programs, business models, and technologies.

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