Amazon Spars With AT&T and Verizon at FCC Over Project Kuiper Spectrum

In the battle over frequencies for low-earth orbit satellites, Amazon pointed to successful geostationary satellite orbit usage.

Amazon Spars With AT&T and Verizon at FCC Over Project Kuiper Spectrum
Photo from Amazon

WASHINGTON, July 27, 2023 – Amazon’s Kuiper subsidiary has told the Federal Communications Commission this month that its non-geostationary low earth orbit satellites can co-exist with geostationary satellites in the 17 GHz band, contrary to what AT&T and Verizon have said.

AT&T and Verizon asked the commission in January to delay a non-geostationary orbit allocation in the upper 17 GHz band until the commission receives “technical studies and data …show[ing] that current and future NGSO, and [fixed satellite service] operations can coexist at 17.7-17.8.”

Amazon said in a letter filed with the commission on July 20 that the telecoms’ concerns are limited to the upper 100 MHz of the 17 GHz band currently allocated to fixed satellite systems, adding both NGSO and GSO orbit FSS systems already share the significantly more utilized 17.8-18.3 GHz frequency band with FS links domestically.

It added that this was due to power restrictions in the 17.8-18.3 GHz frequency band, which Amazon has argued in previous meetings with the FCC should also apply in the 17.7-17.8 GHz band, where interference levels will be nearly identical.

Amazon also said the 17.7-17.8 GHz band will experience less interference compared to the 17.8-18.3 GHz band because the former is less utilized by FS systems, resulting in fewer instances of co-channel and co-located usage between NGSO and GSO systems.

“Both the conservatism of Amazon’s model and its outputs demonstrate that there is little likelihood of significant interference—both now and in the future, as NGSO FSS systems expand their terrestrial networks and new operators deploy,” Amazon told the commission after conducting tests.

Kuiper will produce LEOs that are constantly moving across the sky, as opposed to the stationary geostationary satellites.

Amazon has said in previous filings that the 17 GHz band would help bridge the digital divide, promote efficient use of spectrum, encourage competition, and harmonize U.S. rules with international allocations.

The letter came before Kuiper announced on Friday that it was investing $120 million in the construction of a new satellite processing facility at Space Florida’s Launch and Landing Facility at Kennedy Space Center.

The facility is the latest long-term investment in Project Kuiper, a low Earth orbit satellite network that will provide fast, affordable broadband to unserved and underserved communities around the world according to a statement by Amazon.

Kuiper seek to provide broadband access at the speeds of 100Mbps, 400Mbps and 1Gbps according to their website.

“We have an ambitious plan to begin Project Kuiper’s full-scale production launches and early customer pilots next year, and this new facility will play a critical role in helping us deliver on that timeline,” said Steve Metayer, vice president of Kuiper production operations.

Popular Tags