There’s no denying the importance of having access to the internet in the 21st century. Since the pandemic, it’s become an even more essential asset for people working or learning at home. However, there are some parts of the country that remain underserved when it comes to having access to internet service. One example is rural America. In fact, it’s more common for the internet to be either unreliable or not available at all in rural areas where there are logics issues and other factors involved.
Two of the biggest names in technology today are teaming up to address issues with rural internet access. Amazon and Verizon have announced plans to join forces to tackle the nation’s internet divide in remote and more sparsely populated locations. As for how this is being done, it primarily involves Verizon taking advantage of Amazon’s new satellite system. Keep reading to learn more about this unique and potentially impactful partnership.
Expanding Wireless Broadband Access
The two tech giants announced plans to work together in a way that allows Verizon to take advantage of some of Amazon’s cutting-edge technology. What Version intends to do is use Amazon’s new satellite system, which goes by the name Project Kuiper, to expand wireless broadband 4G and 5G coverage into rural areas.
When everything is up and running, the hope is that Verizon and Amazon will be able to contribute to some notable improvements with internet access in rural areas. For residential households, this means increased access to reliable connections needed for home-based work and education-related tasks. There will also be increased access to the type of connection needed for streaming TV and many of the other internet-dependent activities common today.
This partnership could also be beneficial for rural businesses, especially ones in agricultural industries. Grassroots advocacy group The National Grange also sees the potential this partnership has for the agricultural industry. The group’s president, Betsy Huber, believes this largely rural industry will “see dramatic changes” in the coming year’s thanks to increased access to reliable internet service.
More about Project Kuiper
Amazon’s Project Kuiper, in a nutshell, involves low Earth orbit (LEO) satellites with the ability to overcome rural logistics issues. The project is so-named because it’s being spearheaded by Kuiper Systems, LLC, which is a subsidiary of Amazon. The company was set up in 2019 specifically for the purpose of providing broadband internet service options.
Boosting 5G Access
Hans Vestberg, Verizon’s CEO, has expressed enthusiasm about the partnership and the potential it offers. Vestberg echoes other tech insiders by asserting that the future will be built on advanced 5G technology. 5G is a fifth-generation mobile network poised to become the new standard for broadband cellular networks.
Fine-Tuning the Details
Amazon hasn’t actually launched any satellites yet related to its Project Kuiper program. However, the company does plan to invest $10 billion in the project. Also, the company has already received approval from the Federal Communications Commission to launch more than 3,000 satellites. In the meantime, Verizon and Amazon are working together to determine just how everything related to this rural internet initiative will work when it comes to the technology involved.
Paving the Way for ‘Smart’ Farms
Increased rural internet access also has the potential to contribute to rural innovations such as “smart” farms. These are farms that, with some help from newer technology and increased connectivity, could run even more efficiently. Ultimat4ely, this could mean improved distribution of food around the nation and across the globe.
It’s often said competition drives innovation. This appears to be the case when it comes to satellite-based internet services. Starlink, a satellite-based internet service provider linked to Elon Musk, is working towards goals very similar to what Verizon and Amazon hope to achieve together. Starting in 2015, Starlink already has more than 1,600 working low Earth orbit satellites. The beta price for this service is a one-time cost of $499 plus $99 each month.