Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) has agreed to a partnership agreement with Eutelsat Communications to work on a new initiative that will use satellite technology to avail satellite Internet to Africa.
The initiative aims to get more Africans online through satellite technology through a multi-year agreement between the two firms. The two will launch the project in the second half of next year. The project seeks to exploit the power of the AMOS-6 satellite and its entire broadband as part of a plan to speed up data connectivity to many users.
The initiative will benefit many potential users who have previously been limited and deprived of the potential social and economic gains of being part of a connected world.
Chris Daniels, head of internet.org stated that the project is part of Facebook’s mission towards a connected world. He also noted that the satellite technology will be playing a critical role towards eliminating the barriers that face connectivity in Africa. The satellite technology will focus high gain spot beams on large parts of Eastern, Western and Southern Africa.
According to the terms of the partnership agreement, the beams will allow direct-to-user access to communities and the society through low-cost, off-the-shelf equipment.
The two companies will then deploy Internet services that have been designed to meet the demand in the regions especially where mobile network reach is limited. The companies expect the satellite architecture of the AMOS-6 to help boost cost efficiency in the project. In addition to being a great opportunity for many Africans, the project is also a great opportunity for the two companies to expand their reach on the continent. Eutelsat will get an opportunity to boost its broadband business for professional connectivity in Sub-Saharan Africa. The company will thus get an opportunity to tap into another market.
Facebook will also use this opportunity to encourage more connectivity, especially through its social networks. Such a project can potentially lead to a significant number of new sign-ups on Facebook’s social networks.
Sources: eutelsat, telegraph.co.uk