Amazon has acquired Facebook’s team of more than a dozen satellite internet experts, The Information reported Tuesday citing confirmation from a Facebook spokesperson.
The deal bolsters Amazon’s $10 billion effort to develop low Earth orbit (LEO) satellites capable of delivering high-speed broadband internet.
Facebook’s team, which joined Amazon’s existing 500-person operation in April, included physicists, hardware and software engineers who have experience working on aeronautical and wireless systems, according to The Information.
The talent acquisition deal included some intellectual property developed by the team, as well as equipment and facilities, Facebook told Insider. Other terms were not disclosed.
This is expected to enable Amazon to compete with other satellite internet companies, including Elon Musk’s SpaceX and its Starlink network, OneWeb, and Europe’s Eutelsat.
According to The Verge, the move brings an end to Facebook’s efforts to deliver Internet connectivity to remote areas via its satellites. When it confirmed the initiative in 2018 the company said that it believed the technology would make it possible “to bring broadband connectivity to rural regions where internet connectivity is lacking or non-existent”.
Facebook had previously attempted to use Internet drones to achieve similar ends, before shutting down that project in 2018, the report said.