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Amazon’s Kuiper vs. Standard Broadband: How Do They Compare and Which Is Better?

Communication satellite orbiting space above the Earth.

Amazon’s Kuiper vs. Standard Broadband: How Do They Compare and Which Is Better?

Amazon’s Kuiper is a broadband satellite service that is planned to debut in 2024. Much of the urban United States is covered by standard broadband or cable internet, but rural coverage is lacking. Satellite internet has been one of a handful of options available for those in the rural United States for a number of years, but speed is lacking and coverage can be spotty. Amazon’s plans for Kuiper are quite lofty, and mirror Elon Musk’s Starlink satellite internet service in terms of ambition.

With all this in mind, how does standard broadband stack up against Amazon Kuiper? To come to a more concrete conclusion requires looking at things like speed, reliability, and the overall cost of a standard plan. These are two very different means of connecting to the internet, but the overall aim is the same. Let’s take a closer look at Amazon Kuiper against standard broadband to see which is better for your needs.

Amazon’s Kuiper vs. Standard Broadband: Side-By-Side Comparison

Amazon KuiperStandard Broadband
Speed100 Mbps to 1Gbps for residential users200Mbps average nationwide
Method of TransmissionWireless transmission via low-earth orbiting satellite clustersCopper cabling utilized by cable television services
Receiver TypeWireless receiver measuring 4 inches, 11 inches, or 19 inches in widthA hard-wired modem that converts an analog signal to digital internet access
Cost per MonthNot yet announcedAmerican customers pay an average of $75 a month for broadband internet access
Coverage AreaAnywhereMostly residential and urban areas, spotty coverage in rural areas across the United States

Amazon’s Kuiper vs. Standard Broadband: What’s the Difference?

Standard broadband has been the go-to in terms of metrics for how the speed and efficacy of the internet should work in the United States. Amazon Kuiper is a complete paradigm shift for satellite internet, and as such is closer in terms of speed to actual broadband. That said, there are some differences to note which differentiate these two methods of internet access.

Speed

Amazon Kuiper has a minimum access speed of 100Mbps with a 7-inch base receiver. This baseline speed increases all the way up to 1Gbps with the largest base receiver. These speeds are uncommon for satellite internet, and Amazon may very well lead the charge to a means of high-speed and widely available access for people everywhere. With a minimum assured speed of 100 Mbps, that puts it close to the national average for broadband speeds across the country.

Standard broadband has a range of speeds, with speeds as low as 5Mbps and as high as 1Gbps being possible. That said, the national average is 200Mbps, which seems to be the baseline basic plan available from providers across the country. This is a fairly decent baseline for internet access speed and allows for a wide variety of activities. As you might expect, the faster plans are less than affordable for the average household. Standard broadband loses out to fiber in terms of overall speed but seems to be about on par with Kuiper when it comes to access.

Atlantic Broadband
Atlantic Broadband provides internet access to users in 13 U.S. states, including Pennsylvania and Florida.

©monticello/Shutterstock.com

Reliability

Amazon Kuiper might fall into the same pitfalls you would expect of a satellite internet service. Things like cloudy weather can certainly hamper the reliability of an internet connection. Amazon has foreseen this eventuality, however, and is partnering with Verizon to provide wireless 4G and 5G access to rural customers. This might operate in a fusion network access of sorts, with the 4G and 5G signals acting as a means of connectivity in the event of poor weather or other hiccups any service provider faces.

Standard broadband internet on the whole is fairly reliable. This comes as little surprise when considering all households using broadband internet access are wired directly into the mainline for access. Reliability generally isn’t hampered by cloudy weather, but can also be impacted in the event of storms and the like. Downed lines aren’t uncommon occurrences and can result in a total loss of internet access. When this happens, customers are stuck waiting for their service provider to dispatch staff to repair the issue.

Availability

Amazon Kuiper is available pretty much globally. Internet access isn’t guaranteed to users across the world, let alone in the United States. As such, Amazon’s mission statement was to provide affordable and high-speed internet access with Kuiper. This could be massive if priced correctly, as it means most users aren’t going to be stuck with lower-speed DSL or satellite internet options. This, coupled with the thousands of satellites Amazon plans on launching means that users across the globe may very well be on their way to becoming digital citizens.

A multitude of factors hinders standard broadband internet access. Internet service providers are typically located in urban areas, so coverage there follows. Rural customers might be out of luck, however, as most service providers can’t provide coverage to them. This comes down to a variety of factors, like cost and feasibility. Since standard broadband relies on analog cabling still, it requires a massive investment to provide reliable service. As such, standard broadband in rural and remote areas isn’t a given, but rather an exception to the norm.

Pricing

The pricing structure for Kuiper isn’t known currently. Much of the details surrounding the actual cost of the internet service are still uncertain. Given Amazon’s mission statement and overall aim with their satellite internet service, it could come in as relatively affordable. Currently, satellite internet is an expensive option for most users, given that it requires specialized installations and is utilizing a limited number of satellites in use by the service provider. Depending on the monthly cost, Amazon could very well be leading a new charge for internet access, however.

Standard broadband access is available for $75 a month on average across the United States. There are certainly cheaper plans, and there are far more expensive plans overall. For your standard internet access through broadband, most customers are looking to pay between $75 to $90 a month. This isn’t unaffordable, especially when considering how vital internet access is for everyone in the modern world.

Starlink vs Dish internet
Amazon Kuiper plans to launch over 3,000 satellites by 2024.

©Aleksandr Kukharskiy/Shutterstock.com

Amazon’s Kuiper vs. Standard Broadband: 6 Must-Know Facts

  • Amazon Kuiper will have over 3,000 satellites in low-earth orbit
  • Amazon Kuiper will launch globally in 2024
  • Amazon Kuiper might still be prone to the latency issues of satellite internet
  • Standard broadband internet access is the norm across the United States in urban areas
  • Standard broadband internet access can only be accessed where cabling infrastructure exists
  • Standard broadband internet access pales in comparison to speed with fiber internet access

Amazon’s Kuiper vs. Standard Broadband: Which One is Better? Which One Should You Choose?

Amazon Kuiper could be a revolution in terms of global internet access. Starlink has made a splash, but there is still ample room for competition on the market. What this means for users globally isn’t fully known yet, as pricing and full details are still relatively scarce. Standard broadband is still in regular use by millions of Americans on a day-to-day basis. Reliable speeds and relatively affordable pricing on a monthly basis have led to its continued dominance in the face of things like fiber internet access.

As to which is better, standard broadband is readily available in most urban localities. Before you start pining for Amazon Kuiper, consider if it is right for you, and wait for more details before committing to a new service provider. Depending on the overall cost, it might be worth the wait. If you’re in an urban area and you’re tired of your current broadband internet access, it might be worth staying with your current service provider.

Amazon’s Kuiper vs. Standard Broadband: How Do They Compare and Which Is Better? FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) 

Is Kuiper available yet?

No, Amazon plans to launch the service in full starting in 2024.

Is standard broadband a better choice?

That’s purely subjective, but if you’re in an urban area it has probably been the norm for internet access in your area.

Will Kuiper be good for gaming?

That will depend entirely on how much latency is present in use. Satellites naturally have more latency than broadband or fiber.

Can I stream with Kuiper?

Kuiper should be able to handle streaming media quite easily, especially if you have one of the larger wireless receiver dishes.

Is Amazon using pre-existing satellites?

No, they are launching their own fleet of over 3,000 satellites to provide coverage for Kuiper.

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