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Verizon, Amazon's Project Kuiper team up on rural broadband, business connectivity

Verizon and Amazon plan to collaborate to bring satellite broadband to rural areas. The business use cases are far more promising.
Written by Larry Dignan, Contributor

Verizon and Amazon's Project Kuiper are teaming up to combine Amazon's low Earth orbit satellite network with the wireless carrier's network. While bringing connectivity to rural areas is a win the enterprise potential is what'll make the partnership run.

At a high level, the Verizon and Amazon partnership rhymes with Elon Musk's Starlink service and satellite broadband network. Amazon's Project Kuiper will deliver cellular backhaul service to extend Verizon's 4G and 5G reach. The two companies will also develop technical specifications and define commercial models for a bevy of connectivity services in the US for consumers and global enterprises.

The latter customer base is what'll carry the day. Keep in mind that Amazon and Verizon have strong partnerships and mutual customers. Verizon and AWS outlined a partnership at re:Invent 2019 and has expanded it since. The two companies are already launching edge computing services that combine Verizon's local reach and cellular network with Amazon Web Services.

According to the companies, Verizon and Project Kuiper will examine low Earth orbit (LEO) satellite use cases for agriculture, energy, manufacturing, education, transportation and emergency response. In other words, the LEO partnership can connect a lot of smart farms, plants and edge compute in addition to rural consumers with a 3,236-satellite network.

Here's a look at some of the goals for the LEO collaboration:

  • Expand Verizon's data networks using cellular backhaul from Project Kuiper.
  • Define technical requirements to extend fixed wireless coverage to rural and remote areas.
  • Leverage antenna development from Project Kuiper.
  • Create wireless, private and edge networks for enterprises working in remote industries.

A bit of recent history in the satellite broadband race:

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