US operator Verizon teamed with Amazon to develop connectivity systems for underserved communities through the latter’s Project Kuiper Low Earth Orbit (LEO) satellite network, in addition to jointly working on global enterprise services.

In a statement, Verizon revealed work had begun with Amazon’s Project Kuiper team to develop technical specifications and define preliminary commercial models for a range of connectivity services for US consumers and global enterprise customers operating in rural and remote locations.

Amazon committed $10 billion to Project Kuiper, highlighting the e-commerce giant’s push to increase global broadband access through a constellation of 3,326 LEO satellites designed to serve households, schools, businesses and other organisations where internet access currently limited.

Project Kuiper is Amazon’s initiative in an ongoing global space race, in which players including entrepreneur Elon Musk, Facebook and global operators are pushing to use satellite to improve connectivity in underserved areas.

5G future
Verizon detailed a desire to combine Amazon’s LEO satellite system with its wireless technology and infrastructure.

Initially, the duo will focus on expanding Verizon’s data networks using backhaul from Project Kuiper through antenna developments already in the works. Engineering teams are also working to define technical requirements to help extend fixed wireless access coverage across the US.

The companies explained they will work to develop connectivity solutions for domestic and global industries including agriculture, energy, manufacturing and transportation, using the operator’s private networking and edge compute set-ups.

Verizon chairman and CEO Hans Vestberg stated the future will be built on 5G, which “must be accessible for all”.

“Today’s announcement will help us explore ways to bridge that divide and accelerate the benefits and innovation of wireless connectivity”.