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.

Avatar
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 & Google.

Recent Posts

New Shepard Rocket launches Successful Test Liftoff

New Shepard Rocket launches Successful Test Liftoff

The New Shepard rocket by Blue Origin successfully conducted the test launch in the Texas testing site, successfully performing take-off and...
7 hours ago
MIT unveils Modern Design for Hybrid-Electric Airliner

MIT unveils Modern Design for Hybrid-Electric Airliner

Engineers at MIT conceptualized a hybrid-electric plane that would reduce nitrogen oxide emission levels and harmful greenhouse gases signif...
8 hours ago
Store Closures Cost European Retail Giant Primark $1.43 Billion in Sales

Store Closures Cost European Retail Giant Primark $1.43 Billion in Sales

The European retail giant Primark said the COVID-19 had caused a loss of over $1.43 billion (£1.05 billion) in sales from store closures. T...
2 days ago
Goldman Sachs to concentrate on consumer banking arm Marcus for growth

Goldman Sachs to concentrate on consumer banking arm Marcus for growth

Goldman Sachs Group Inc. is firming up plans to bolster its consumer banking arm Marcus through acquisitions and concentrating on digital ba...
2 days ago
General Electric claims Siemens Energy used stolen theft secrets to win contract bids

General Electric claims Siemens Energy used stolen theft secrets to win contract bids

General Electric Co. has accused rival Siemens Energy AG of using stolen trade secrets to rig bids for lucrative contracts supplying gas tur...
2 days ago
U.S. Trade Department Slams Digital Services Tax

U.S. Trade Department Slams Digital Services Tax

The U.S. Trade Representative on Thursday said that the Digital Service Taxes (DSTs) in Spain, Austria and the U.K. is unreasonable and disc...
2 days ago