Amazon, Vrio to launch satellite internet in South America to rival Starling

Amazon, Vrio to launch satellite internet in South America to rival Starling

Amazon and telecom company Vrio will jointly launch satellite Internet service in seven South American countries, both parties said Thursday, putting it in direct competition with Elon Musk’s Starling.

Vrio, the American company that operates the Latin American division of DirecTV and Sky Brazil, will provide the service to customers in Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Uruguay, Peru, Ecuador and Colombia.

“We think the opportunity is huge,” Vrio’s vice president Lucas Werthein told Reuters.

Amazon’s Project Khyber, launched by a former Starlink employee, will deliver internet via satellites in so-called low Earth orbit.

“About 200 million people in the region are poor, with little or no internet access,” Werthin said, citing a World Bank estimate. “Add to that the geographic landscape, and certainly a continent that has challenges in making large investments in infrastructure.”

According to Project Kuiper’s launch plan, the service will come online in mid-2025, starting in Argentina.

Project Kuiper outlines plans to launch 3,236 satellites in the coming months, according to Bruno Henriques, president of the Latin American Business Development Institute.

In 2019, Amazon announced plans to invest $10 billion in the project.

“Our goal is to ensure that all customers, whether urban, suburban or rural, have the same level of broadband access,” Henriques said.

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