Amazon appears to have identified another market to launch its fast and affordable internet service, Project Kuiper: India.
Job postings show that the US e-commerce group is looking for executives in India to launch the internet service, for which the company plans to use low-Earth orbit satellites.
One position, based in Bengaluru, is looking for a manager to execute and manage the project’s licensing strategy in India and Asia-Pacific countries. The company is also hiring a business strategy leader for its Country Development team to “launch and operate” the broadband service globally.
“A successful candidate will be both entrepreneurial and highly analytical, able to work extremely effectively in a matrix organization and adept at understanding how businesses in India operate and how to create innovative, cutting-edge solutions for our customers,” Amazon describes in the job posting . .
The company, which has reportedly been launching its internet service in India for more than a year, did not respond to a request for comment on Wednesday.
Amazon unveiled Project Kuiper in 2019 with the goal of deploying a massive broadband satellite internet constellation — instead of SpaceX’s Starlink, at least on paper. The Seattle-headquartered company has pledged to invest more than $10 billion in the project and said it plans to provide affordable broadband to unserved and underserved communities around the world.
The US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) approved the company last year to launch and operate its constellation of more than 3,200 Internet satellites. The company plans to launch its first satellites later this year and has indicated that the US could be the first market to roll out Kuiper’s internet.
In addition to offering direct broadband connectivity to consumers, Project Kuiper has said it also plans to offer backhaul service to carriers. In April, Amazon announced its partnership with commercial space companies Arianespace, Blue Origin and United Launch Alliance (ULA) to secure up to 83 launches for its low Earth orbit (LEO) satellite system.
Although India is already the second largest internet market in the world, about half of the population is still offline. World Bank data shows that in 2020 only 43 percent of the total population of India used the internet, a figure significantly lower than in the US, where the internet penetration rate is 91 percent.
This explains why so many tech giants have tried to launch their internet services in India over the years.
Last year, SpaceX’s Starlink announced plans to launch as many as 200,000 terminals in India by the end of 2022. The company started taking pre-orders in India enthusiastically, until it haphazardly abandoned the project after failing to get approval from the local government.
OneWeb, a London-based company backed by Bharti Airtel, is one of the key players to launch their satellite-based broadband services in India. It is working with Indian space research organization New Space to launch its satellites.
Nelco, owned by Tata Group, is also in the running to offer high-speed satellite internet in India. Similarly, in February, Reliance Jio announced its native satellite-based broadband service called Jio Space Technology, for which it is partnering with Luxembourg satellite and terrestrial telecom provider SES.
“I’m sure we’ll have broadband satellite communications next year,” Lieutenant General AK Bhatt, director general of the Indian Space Association (IsPA), said in an interview with TechCrunch.
Launched last year, IsPA has members including Larsen & Toubro, Nelco, One-Web, Bharti Airtel and Walchandnagar Industries. It works with both the government and its agencies and private players to operate as a “collective voice” of the Indian aerospace industry.
Bhatt noted that the government is likely to announce its new space policy 2022, which will fully clarify the regulatory regime.
“The initial broadband services of LEO constellations may be marginally expensive, but market forces and volumes will overcome this. In the long term, satcom broadband will be ‘Fiber in the Sky’, ensuring seamless communication with the user,” he said.
This post Amazon wants to bring satellite internet company Project Kuiper to India – TechCrunch was original published at “https://techcrunch.com/2022/07/21/amazon-project-kuiper-satellite-broadband-india-launch/”