AWS completes six ground stations, changes rollout strategy

Updated Aug. 4 at 4:43 p.m. Eastern. 

WASHINGTON — Amazon Web Services has slowed the rollout of its ground station network to accommodate customer feedback about the best locations to place its antennas. 

AWS has built ground stations in six locations around the world instead of the 12 it had expected to complete by the end of 2019. Shayn Hawthorne, senior manager of AWS’s ground station business, said the company realized customers wanted ground stations in different locations than AWS previously thought. 

“We originally had our plan for where we wanted to go, but as we started to engage more and more with customers, we had customers who wanted us to get as far north as we could,” he said, which led to a ground station built in Sweden, where polar-orbiting satellites could quickly see the antennas. 

Customer demand drove decisions to build ground stations in Bahrain and Australia, he said. AWS also has two ground stations in the United States and one in Ireland, Hawthorne said. 

AWS still plans to build 12 ground stations, and potentially more, but is deciding on many of the future sites with customers, Hawthorne said. 

“As you continue to see more ground stations launched in the future, you’re going to see that many of them are going to be coming along with a customer request or use case that drove those sites to be prioritized over others,” he said. 

Hawthorne declined to name future locations but said one will be a “high latitude site” to be completed later this year. 

“We have more regions coming soon this year and we’ll keep building into the future because of customer demands and the capacity required to meet their needs,” he said.