Friday September 28, 2018

Amazon Partners With Iridium to Bring Internet to the Whole Planet

Amazon announced a partnership with Iridium Communications, with the goal of developing a satellite network for Internet of Things devices called CloudConnect. Iridium CEO Matt Desh told CNBC that he intends to cover the "whole planet," and expects the service to launch in 2019. SpaceX is almost done launching Iridium's 75 satellite NEXT constellation, which it claims will offer "the best bandwidth over anybody." By connecting directly to AWS, the largest cloud computing service in the world, Iridium seems to think developing devices for the new network will be relatively easy. Amazon and Iridium aren't the first companies to announce a broadband network based on satellites, but they claim to be on the "high end" of the market.

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"We're talking things where a couple dollars can deliver really timely information in seconds from anywhere-to-anywhere in the planet," Desch said. Desch expects CloudConnect to initially cater to large things like agricultural equipment or cargo ship in the open sea but said "it will move downwards into smaller and smaller vehicles, such as drones." Iridium is also looking at partnering with low-cost satellite companies like Myriota, Hiber and Fleet - as those will focus on a different range of IoT data. "There are eight or 10 of these new networks that people want to develop with new satellites," Desch said. "We're more of the high end, when you've got to really get the data and it's got to be real time."