Amazon entered the race for a low-cost global Internet service recently with the launch of the first satellites in its Kuiper Network.
The launch occurred in Florida and the rocket contains the first prototype satellites that the company will use for testing.
Ultimately, Amazon plans to launch over 3,000 such satellites into orbit in hopes of competing with SpaceX’s Starlink satellites.
What is playing out is the next round in the race to control the global market for Internet access.
Cable providers continue to see their market share eroded by broadband platforms from Verizon, T-Mobile, and AT&T.
But Starlink and Kuiper seek to develop a low latency, broadband Internet system to meet the needs of consumers across the globe with a series of small geosynchronous satellites.
These programs aim to provide global Internet service, especially to people in remote or underserved areas.
But once such investments are made, the companies will be able to undercut their cable and 5G competition, much of which has expensive Earth-bound infrastructure.
As the 5G providers continue to battle on price and coverage, these low-cost satellites seek to jump the line by making the Internet widely available to all for pennies.
While that model seems altruistic there are many who fear that the centralized control in the hands of these companies provides a model where they can turn off service on a whim, leaving users stranded.
Elon Musk was accused of just such a thing when Starlink, which is being used by war-torn Ukraine whose land-based communications have been damaged, was suddenly disabled during a recent Ukrainian offensive.