Facebook Reaches Deal to Beam Internet to Africa From Space
Tuesday, October 6, 2015
Facebook has reached a deal to have free internet beamed to some of the most remote parts of Africa via satellite.
The social network has agreed a partnership with Eutelsat, a French satellite internet operator, to transmit internet connections to offline parts of sub-Saharan Africa from next year.
Through Facebook's internet.org initiative, the company offers access to a number of services including weather, news, health and Facebook itself, for free. However, most connections at present come through traditional fixed and mobile telecoms networks, which provide spotty coverage especially in sparsely-populated areas.
Starting in the second half of 2016, Facebook and Eutelsat will use capacity on AMOS-6, a satellite from Israeli company Spacecom that is due to launch by the end of this year, to beam internet connections directly to smartphones in parts of West, East and Southern Africa.
It will serve the most populous areas of sub-Saharan Africa, with 14 countries in total receiving the service.
It comes following reports that Facebook had abandoned plans to build its own satellite, which would have cost up to $1 billion (£660 million), earlier this year.