Facebook satellite team joins Amazon – what we know
The acquired team will be working on Project Kuiper.
Amazon has reportedly acquired a team from Facebook responsible for delivering internet connectivity from low Earth orbit satellites for an undisclosed amount of money which saw Los Angeles-based employees switch companies in April to work on Project Kuiper.
Facebook satellite team acquired by Amazon
In 2018, Facebook confirmed it would use its own satellites to bring connectivity to remote areas, according to The Verge. Facebook had also attempted to use internet drones for the same ambitions, but the project was collapsed before 2018. This move also ends Facebook’s goal to use its own satellites while propping up Amazon’s.
According to the Insider, Facebook said the talent acquisition deal included some intellectual property developed by the team, as well as equipment and facilities. Amazon received approval in July 2020 from the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to launch 3,236 Low Earth Orbiting (LEO) satellites in an effort called Project Kuiper, which according to the Insider, was part of the plan to bring satellite-based internet online after 597 of its satellites are in orbit.
It is reported that Amazon is also trying to catch up with SpaceX’s Starlink broadband constellation, which already has more than more than 1,600 satellites in orbit and is expanding its beta program.
The company is hoping to invest $10 billion (more than R145 billion) to launch the project by the year 2029.
What’s Facebook’s plan after giving up its project?
Given Facebook’s lack of plans to launch its own satellite network, the Amazon acquisition will allow its satellite team to continue its work, Facebook told reporters.
Facebook will also be working with other companies like Eutelsat in its efforts to expand internet connectivity, which include Facebook Wi-Fi integrating with a business’s Instagram presence, giving people more ways to connect and small-medium businesses more opportunities to engage with their customers. Facebook started their project in 2015, and it not been without hurdles.