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Amazon’s AWS Ground Station Service Is Now Available

Amazon announced that they would be providing satellite ground station service last year and Andy Jassy, CEO of Amazon Web services, announced its availability in the video at the end of this post.

AWS Ground Station is a fully managed, ready-to-go ground station service, featuring:

  • No upfront cost.
  • Scaleability—you only pay for antenna time.
  • No long-term contract.
  • Self-service scheduling on a per-minute basis, that can be changed dynamically using their ground station console.
  • Secure transmission.
  • Low latency due to proximity to Amazon data centers.
  • Integration with EC2, S3 and other Amazon services and Amazon’s global network backbone.
  • Simultaneous up/download.
  • Support of most common communication frequencies.

This sounds like a compelling case, especially for a small operator or startup, but I don’t know how the prices compare to existing services or building proprietary ground stations.

A couple of questions come to mind. I assume Project Kuiper, Amazon’s proposed broadband satellite venture, will use this service, but will SpaceX, OneWeb, Telesat and other potential satellite broadband ISPs also use it? If so, will Amazon treat them fairly? Competing ground station companies might also raise the issue of predatory pricing since Amazon will have an opportunity for cross-subsidy with their other services or they might just operate at a loss until competitors are eliminated (as they have done in other cases).

By Larry Press, Professor of Information Systems at California State University

He has been on the faculties of the University of Lund, Sweden and the University of Southern California, and worked for IBM and the System Development Corporation. Larry maintains a blog on Internet applications and implications at cis471.blogspot.com and follows Cuban Internet development at laredcubana.blogspot.com.

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