Facebook and Eutelsat will use satellites to bring free Internet to Africa

FacebookFacebook has agreed to a partnership with Eutelsat Communications, a French satellite internet operator to jointly deliver satellite internet connections to the remotest parts of sub-Saharan Africa from 2016.

Through Facebook’s internet.org initiative, the company offers to access to a number of services including news, weather, health and Facebook for free. Although, the connection will come through fixed and mobile telecoms networks, providing inconsistent coverage especially in thinly-populated areas.

In the second half of 2016, Facebook and Eutelsat will use capacity on AMOS-6, a satellite from Israeli company Spacecom that is scheduled for a launch by the end of 2015 to beam internet connections directly to smartphones in parts of East, West, and Southern Africa.

It will beam connectivity to some of the most densely-populated areas of sub-Saharan Africa, with 14 countries in total receiving the service.
The announcement comes following reports that Facebook had abandoned plans to build its own satellite, which would have cost the company dearly – up to $1 billion.

Founded in 1977, Eutelsat, the Paris-based satellite operator provides satellite coverage to most of Europe and Russia, It would soon set up a new office in London to lead its Africa operations, which will be led by Laurent Grimaldi, erstwhile CEO of Tiscali International Network, and will focus on providing premium consumer and professional segments.

Michel de Rosen, CEO of Eutelsat, said:

“Eutelsat’s strong track record in operating High Throughput Satellite systems will ensure that we can deliver accessible and robust Internet solutions that get more users online and part of the Information Society.”

Two years ago, Facebook launched Internet.org, a collaborative project to “connect the next five billion”. It partnered with notable companies, including Microsoft, Qualcomm, and Samsung, and a healthy number of projects have been announced since. Although, lately it has started drawing criticism over net neutrality and internet transparency. A few months ago, it was found that Internet.org is only permitting users access to Facebook and a few other select sites. A few weeks ago, Facebook renamed the Internet.org apps and website to “Free Basics by Facebook” and paved the way for more developers and web services to join the program.

Facebook hopes to deliver its services by the second half of 2016. It is also building Acquila, a 140-foot solar-powered drone aimed to deliver the internet from 60,000 to 90,000 feet above. It hopes to test the drone later this year, however, it’s yet to confirm when it will be fully deployed.

Carrie Ann
Carrie Ann is Editor-in-Chief at Industry Leaders Magazine, based in Las Vegas. Carrie covers technology, trends, marketing, brands, productivity, and leadership. When she isn’t writing she prefers reading. She loves reading books and articles on business, economics, corporate law, luxury products, artificial intelligence, and latest technology. She’s keen on political discussions and shares an undying passion for gadgets. Follow Carrie Ann on Twitter, Facebook

Recent Posts

Supply chain crisis bad news for automotive industry leaders

Supply chain crisis bad news for automotive industry leaders

The world’s biggest car companies are on track to lose production of 7.7 million vehicles in 2021. The forecast advices automakers on supply chain and other issues.
2 days ago
Scammers dupe Apple fans with free bitcoin lure

Scammers dupe Apple fans with free bitcoin lure

Savvy scammers used a fake event stream, a fake Apple website, and the promise of free bitcoin to lure fans into opening up their wallets.
3 days ago
Japan’s MUFG offloads Union Bank to U.S. Bancorp for $7.3 billion

Japan’s MUFG offloads Union Bank to U.S. Bancorp for $7.3 billion

The total amount of cash to be received as part of MUFG Union Bank’s sale to Bancorp is $7.3 billion (800 billion yen).
4 days ago
Evergrande: A black swan event that could spook markets

Evergrande: A black swan event that could spook markets

EverGrande is now known as the “world’s most indebted property developer” and serves as a symbol of corporate excess.
5 days ago
Moderna vaccine more effective than Pfizer, study says

Moderna vaccine more effective than Pfizer, study says

Moderna’s Covid-19 vaccine does a slightly better job of preventing coronavirus-related hospitalizations and emergency department visits.
7 days ago
iPhone 13 and iPhone 13 Pro: Specifications, Release Date, Features and much more

iPhone 13 and iPhone 13 Pro: Specifications, Release Date, Features and much more

Apple iPhone 13 Pro and iPhone 13 Pro Max can be a hit with its ever new technology A15 Bionic chip and other cool profound features.
1 week ago