Amazon has officially acquired the team of employees that are behind Facebook's internet connectivity project.

Facebook's team was initially assigned to build a secure internet connection from low Earth orbit satellites to power remote areas.

Amazon Acquires Facebook's Internet Team

According to The Information, Amazon paid Facebook as part of the acquisition, but the amount was never disclosed.

Due to the acquisition, more than a dozen employees from Los Angeles, California, switched to Amazon in April to work on Project Kuiper, Amazon's satellite internet connectivity program.

Project Kuiper is aimed at making internet connectivity available to billions of people worldwide, but it has other applications as well.

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For example, the U.S Army and Air Force are both testing Starlink as a channel for military communications, and Google and Microsoft are partnering with SpaceX to use the satellites as links for cloud computing.

Executives from Amazon have said that Project Kuiper could work well with its Web Services' cloud operations.

The move has brought an end to Facebook's satellite internet connectivity program, which was set to distribute internet service to remote areas through its own satellites.

When the social media giant confirmed the initiative in 2018, it said that it believed the technology would make it possible to deliver broadband connectivity to rural areas where a stable internet connection is lacking or non-existent.

Facebook had attempted to use internet drones in the past to achieve the same goal, but it was shut down in 2018.

Meanwhile, Amazon's ambitions to provide internet through satellite emerged in 2019. The e-commerce company has said that it expects to invest $10 billion to launch 3,236 satellites into low-earth orbit by 2029 to give internet to unserved and underserved communities around the world.

Amazon got FCC's approval to operate the network in 2020 and will launch half of its satellites by 2026.

According to The Verge, Amazon is currently building a lab in Washington, and it now has 500 employees working solely on the internet project.

In late 2020, Amazon showed what the antennas will look like. These antennas will give users internet connectivity from its satellite internet service.

However, Amazon is yet to launch any of its satellites into space. In April, Amazon confirmed it had signed an agreement with United Launch Alliance or ULA, a rocket operator, for nine launches. But Amazon did not provide a timeline for when these launches would occur, according to CNBC. 

Tech Companies Working on Internet Connectivity

Amazon is just one of the numerous tech companies that are attempting to use satellites to offer internet connectivity in parts of the world where it would be expensive to install fixed infrastructure.

SpaceX is the most well-known and eventually plans to launch nearly 12,000 satellites into orbit. It is already offering the Starlink service as a beta to a couple of users, although performance from the roughly 1,3000 satellites already in orbit has been inconsistent so far.

OneWeb is another company making investments in the area but had financial difficulties in 202 when it was forced to file for bankruptcy protection.

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Written by Sophie Webster

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