Amazon has taken over Facebook’s satellite Internet team

The race to develop satellite Internet includes some pretty big players such as SpaceX, Amazon, SoftBank and Facebook. However, according to The Information, Facebook has now largely abandoned the business, selling its Internet satellite team to Amazon. For Amazon, this is an important step in its plans to develop the Kuiper satellite network and catch up with SpaceX’s Starlink broadband cluster effort.

Like Starlink, the Kuiper program aims to provide low-latency, high-speed broadband connections to users around the world. Amazon is aiming to have 3,236 satellites in orbit by 2029, with half of them launching in 2026. It also plans to build 12 ground stations around the world to transmit data with the satellites.

The company says it will spend more than $10 billion to make it all happen and recently received approval for the project from the FAA. It also announced last year that it would use United Launch Alliance’s ultra-reliable Atlas V rocket for its initial satellite launches.

Amazon has dramatically ramped up hiring for its Kuiper program at its Redmond headquarters, which now has 500 employees and 200 open positions. The employees from Facebook are reportedly based in the Los Angeles area and include physicists as well as optical, prototyping, mechanical and software engineers. Kim Baines, Facebook’s former head of Southern California Connections, is now listed on his LinkedIn page as the head of the Kuiper project.

Meanwhile, Facebook appears to be exiting the satellite Internet business to focus on terrestrial projects, investing in submarine and terrestrial fiber and wireless services such as ExpressWiFi. The company recently launched an “Asina” satellite through its PointView Tech subsidiary, but it was a test mission, not the start of a satellite The Internet cluster is not the beginning. With the sale of its satellite team to Amazon, any ambitions it had in this area appear to be over.